Welcome to our travel blog. We are Tabitha and Nic. In 2011 we 'retired' in our early 40s and set off to travel the world. We spent our first year in South America and have been lucky enough to make two trips to Antarctica.

Our blog is a record of our travels, thoughts and experiences. It is not a guide book, but we do include some tips and information, so we hope that you may find it useful if you are planning to visit somewhere we have been. Or you may just find it interesting as a bit of armchair travel.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Havana - and the first of two old cars

For our first two nights in Havana we met up with a couple of friends who are currently living and working just a short hop away on the Cayman Islands. They were staying around the old town so as our original plan to meet them at our conveniently located hotel had failed, we met them in Plaza Vieja instead.

We spotted a vacant outside table at the microbrewery called Taberna de Muralle, and grabbed it. With a nice view, a tower of reasonable locally brewed beer and some good music playing, we stayed to eat there and caught up on each others news.
After food we wandered around the streets nearby in search of a bar. We intended to try out Bodeguita del Medio, which was an old Ernest Hemmingway haunt and full of character, but unfortunately it was also very full of people already. But we found an alternative after a while and sat outside drinking our various drinks, most of which contained rum of some form or other.

At the end of the evening, as we needed a cab back to our distant hotel, we headed to the square where we were told the drivers loiter. We were soon offered a cab at the right price, and we followed the guy over to the cabs. He took us to one of the old style cars, where the driver promptly sought a high price because it was a vintage car. He didn't seem too bothered when we said no; we just wanted to get where we were going and didn't care what the car was.

And this car wasn't so much vintage as clapped out. It is hot enough in Cuba that you generally want the windows open, which was just as well in this car as there was no glass in the windows to close. The interior of the car was exactly that - the inside of the metal outside. The seat was there, but otherwise here was no upholstery inside, just the metal panels, with bits of wire to open the doors.

Half way there we reached a point where the road sloped upwards and came to an abrupt stop. The driver tried to restart with no joy, so got out and had a fiddle under the bonnet and tried again; still no luck. Two attempts later he got it going; we held our breath for the rest of the journey and when we made it there I think we all breathed a sigh of relief.

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