+ kvällssolen skiner på husen i Cienfuegos

Cienfuegos

The reins was hanging on a hook in the ceiling. The driver jumped down and left us alone in the cart after the horse. He disappeared around the corner. What happened? What would we do if the horse set off at full gallop? We sat there surprised and looked at each other.

horse withoout a driver

We wanted to arrive at La Punta before the sunset . We had heard that you would have a drink, maybe dance and watch the sunset . So we went with horse and carriage. Apparently, they had rules for which streets the horses were allowed to go. Our driver had been stopped by the police and had a long discussion with the policeman. He was quite upset when he came back. We didn’t understand much, unfortunately. He took other paths and it went well.

promenade
Man in sunset
palmtree in sunset
palmtree and sunset
sunset

We walked past many grand houses on the way. Some of them had restaurants and bars. We visited some of them and finally we found the Sugar Baron’s house. The sun had gone down and the photographs didn’t show the house from the best side.

house in Cienfuegos
Lion statue
mosaic in the sugar barons house

Cienfuegos felt like a completely different type of city than the others. It was an old French colonial city. There are many nice houses around the Plaza Jose Marti. The city gives a clean and neat impression. Cienfuego’s historic center is on the World Heritage List.

Plaza Jose Marti
house at Plaza Jose Marti
house in Cienfuegos
house in Cienfuegos

Our accommodation in Cienfuegos

We stayed at a fantastic accommodation in Cienfuegos, BR & Hostal Sunrise. It was affordable and beautiful. The food we were served was very good. It was difficult to book a room because it was very popular. We booked the accommodation via Booking.com and everything worked well.

Booking.com
stairs in the hostel
hostel in Cienfuegos

Botanical Garden

Outside Cienfuegos there is a botanical garden. We went there on the way to Trinidad. The parkarea is very large and we went through a small part of the park. There were many different kinds of plants and small hummingbirds flew in the park.

palmtree in park
pink flower
Trees in the park
pink flower in the park

Waterfall El NichoB


We visit the Waterfalls in El Nicho on the way to Trinidad. The taxi dropped us off at the park entrance. We walked slowly uphill on paths and stairs. We also had to cross some bridges. We walked a bit and after a while we arrived at a beautiful pond. You could swim in the clear water. We followed the path around the larger waterfall and looked at the nice view before we took a nice refreshing swim.

clear water
Waterfall
waterfall in Cienfuegos
swim in clear water

Summary

We went with Finnair from Copenhagen to Havana. We stayed 3 nights in Havana (Havana 1,Havana 2) 2 nights in Vinales (Vinales 1, Vinales 2), 1 night in Cienfuegos, 3 nights in Trinidad, 3 nights at Cayo Santa Maria and 2 nights in Varadero. When we were going from one accommodation to another we went by taxi colectivo. We booked the cars through our accommodations the day before we were going. If we were going on the trip today we would have stayed more nights in Vinales and skipped to go to Varadero.

+ Vinales valley

Vinales

Deeply focused I stood and tried to get the whole statue into the picture. I wanted some of the beautiful background too. After half an eternity, I was satisfied, took a picture and began to move past the statue. Totally terrified, I screamed loudly. The statue had begun to walk towards me with the hand stretched out. I was not prepared for this.

living statue

We were in the Viñales Valley and had stopped at a nice viewpoint near the Horizontes Los Jazmines hotel. When I had calmed down after the living statue I could enjoy the amazing view. On the way back to the car there was a bull who stand saddled at a park bench. I wonder who was brave enought to ride on it.

view over vinales valley
bull with sadle

We also visited Indian Cave. A bit into the cave there was a boat. When it was our turn we went for a trip. The man who steered the boat pointed with a laser pointer on different formations and told us about the cave.

cave
outside the cave

Another stop was at a huge rock painting, Mural of prehistory. According to Wikipedia, it is 120 meters high and 160 meters long. When we were there we met some of the few Swedish people we met on the trip. It was a choir from Lund on tour in Cuba. Unfortunately, we missed their concerts.

painted cliff

We had lunch at a restaurant with a fantastic view, the Balcon del Valle. The food was good and not more expensive than anywhere else. Our waitress asked if we wanted a panorama when we were eating. She was a pro a it. She had to do that for almost all food guests daily.

Balecon del valle
restaurant with beautiful view
Vinales valley

Everywhere in Cuba you see animals. People live with many animals in their vicinity. They take the horse when they are going somewhere and everywhere there are spattering hens and crowing cocks. In the neighbors garden went a loose pig.

riding man with his dog
horse and carriage
pig and hen

In Viñales we stayed at Casa Yurkenia y Lila. We were very pleased with this accommodation. They were very welcoming and we felt like at home. They helped us book good trips and we could eat both breakfast and dinner there if we wanted.

Casa in Vinales

We booked our accommodation in Cuba via Booking.com. It worked very well

Booking.com

Summary

We went with Finnair from Copenhagen to Havana. We stayed 3 nights in Havana (Havana 1, Havana 2) 2 nights in Vinales (Vinales 1, Vinales 2), 1 night in Cienfuegos, 3 nights in Trinidad, 3 nights at Cayo Santa Maria and 2 nights in Varadero. When we were going from one accommodation to another we went by taxi colectivo. We booked the cars through our accommodations the day before we were going. If we were going on the trip today we would have stayed more nights in Vinales and skipped to go to Varadero.

+ Vinales valley

Vinales

Otherwise we have a special drink here. It contains mandarin juice and some other juices. Then you choose how much rum you want to pour into your drink. What do you say? Would you rather have our special drink or do you still want beer? asked the man behind the bar counter in the cave bar. We take both…….

special drink
gyllintours pours up rum

Vinales valley

We checked in at Casa Yrkenia y Lila in the afternoon. We wanted to use all the time we had in Vinales so we got help booking an tour to tobacco plantation the same day. A taxidriver drow us to the entrance. A tanned man with a leather hat met us. He took us to the horses we were going to ride on.

man with a leather hat
man who makes our hourses ready

I was the one who absolutely wanted to ride horses instead of walking in the warm afternoon heat. The others were more doubtful. They thought it was okay because they said the horses were semi-automatic. The other looked very safe in the saddle when they rode in front of me. I was scared and was sure I would fall off, at least the first bit.

Gyllintours ride in vinales
Gyllintours ride in Vinales

It was incredibly beautiful throughout the ride and when I relaxed I could enjoy the tour. When we stepped off the horses we stumbled down to a lake. We sat down and splashed our feet in the water and got some natural fish spa. We ordered each beer and just enjoyed life.

lake in Vinales
lake in Vinlaes
resting by the lake

After our little break we met another man. He showed us around and told a lot about the coffee and tobacco crops in the valley. He taught us how to dry and ferment tobacco. We also look at how to roll a cigar. We were deeply concentrated as he taught to smoke cigar and drink rum.

tobacco
a man who rolls a cigar
Gyllintours smokes cigar and drinks rum

Summary

We went with Finnair from Copenhagen to Havana. We stayed 3 nights in Havanna (Havana 1, Havanna 2) 2 nights in Vinales (Vinales 1, Vinales 2), 1 night in Cienfuegos, 3 nights in Trinidad, 3 nights at Cayo Santa Maria and 2 nights in Varadero. When we were going from one accommodation to another we went by taxi colectivo. We booked the cars through our accommodations the day before we were going. If we were going on the trip today we would have stayed more nights in Vinales and skipped to go to Varadero.

+ gata i Havanna

Havana

You got a nice overview of the city as you slowly went forward in the red vintage car. The gentle wind made the curls flutter. The arm leaning on the door and everything felt very right. The driver guided us around Havana and stopped along the way.

in the red cab
in a red cab

El Malecon

The people meet here in the afternoons and evenings to socialize, drink beer and dance salsa, at least those who could not afford to go out, the driver said. We passed the long promenade El Malecon. There were a lot more people now than when we visit it in the morning.

fishing on El malecon
El malecon

Callejon de Hamel

We came to a walled gate that led into a colorful alley. There were murals and sculptures. Even if the surface was small, there were several small bars and a tiny dance floor. The idea was probably that you would pay for be guided around. There was no entry so they had to find other ways to get money. The man who sold CDs could probably look straight through me because he made me buy a disc by saying that the money would go to children at the school.

Callejon de Hamel
sculpture
Callejon de Hamel

Cristobal Colon CemeteryB

The Catholic cemetery is huge. In all directions you see chalk white tombstones, coffins and monuments. We went towards the center of the cemetery but constantly sought shade to get some relief from the hot sun’s heat. We looked at a grave with a statue of a woman holding her little child in her arms. The tomb is adorned with flowers.

a tomb
man  in the shaddow
cemetery colon

Plaza de la RevolucionB

Plaza de la Revolucion is a large open and bright square. If you stand on the square and turn in different directions you can see a tall tower and two pictures. These are made in memory of people who have been of great importance in Cuba’s history, José Marti, Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos.

Jose Marti Memorial
Che Guevara
Camilo Cienfuegos

John Lennon Park

In a park in Havana there is a statue of John Lennon sitting on a park bench. We looked at the statue, sat down on the park bench and took some photographs. He didn’t feel completely familiar. After a while a person came and placed John’s glasses on the statue. Apparently, the glasses have a tendency to disappear.

John Lennon in the park

Street life

Everywhere in Havana you can hear music. People are playing and singing in restaurants and in the streets. Sometimes you get to help them a little with the maracas.

gyllintours playing maracas in the street

On weekdays you can see the schoolchildren fill squares with outdoor activities

children in the square

Summary

We went with Finnair from Copenhagen to Havana. We stayed 3 nights in Havana, 2 nights in Vinales, 1 night in Cienfuegos, 3 nights in Trinidad, 3 nights at Cayo Santa Maria and 2 nights in Varadero. When we were going from one accommodation to another we went by taxi colectivo. We booked the cars through our accommodations the day before we were going. If we were going on the trip today we would have stayed more nights in Vinales and skipped to go to Varadero.

+ vintagebil i Havanna

Havana

The metal gate was opened with a bang. On the bar counter, the glasses were in a row, prepared with mint leavs. It was 10 am and we were first of all. Dos mojitos, por favor! The bartender unscrewed the cap on the bottle and sprinkled nonchalantly the first splash in the air. He began to fill the glasses. He poured and poured and it felt like he never would stop. We just sipped the drink and the room was full of people. Everyone ordered mojito.

la Bodeguita

We were at La Bodeguita in the old town of Havana. They says that Hemingway used to drink mojito there. I don’t know how it tasted when Hemingway lived but it’s the strongest mojiton I’ve ever tasted.

mojito at the bar

In Hemingways footsteps

We continued to walk in Hemingway’s footsteps. We passed the Ambos Mundos hotel in Old Havana. There he stayed when he visited Havana. For a small fee you can have a look at his room

Ambos Mundos Hotel

La Floridita is another bar that may be even more famous because of Hemingway. At the bar there is a statue of him. He seems to be happy. At La Floridita you should drink the frosen Daiquiri. So we did like everyone else, ordered a Daiquiri and toasted with Hemingway.

cheers, Hemingway
La Floridita

If we had stayed longer in Havana, we would also visited his former home, which is a museum this days. It is located a bit outside Havana and I heard it should be worth a visit. We would also visit Cojimar. It is said that in Cojimar Hemingway was inspired to write The Old and the Sea

Central Havana

It is nice to just stroll around in the old town. Some quarters are pretty well in order while others are unexpectedly worn. Inside the square in the old town is Camara Oscura. It is an invention by Leonardo Da Vinci. The camera is located high up on a house by the square. With the help of the camera one can see a reflection of what is happening in the town. The camera is rotated manually using ropes. Moving images of the city are displayed on a screen similar to a satellite dish.

view from the house with camara oscura

When we arrived at Plaza de la Catedral we ended up in the Palacio del Marques de Arcos. We didn’t really understand where we had ended up but were taken care of by a guide who showed us around the house.

Plaza de la Caterdral
Palacio del Marques de Arcos

Accommodation at Casa

We chose to stay at Casa Vidal Habana Vieja inside the old town. Staying in a casa is like living in someones home. It was a fairly basic accommodation but with everything we needed. They made a fantastic breakfast for us every morning. The stairs up to the apartment were narrow and steep. It seems to be common in the houses in Havana. I saw similar stairs in many houses.

stairs in Havana

It was walking distance from our accommodation to most of what we were going to visit. We booked the accommodation through Booking.com and it worked well.

Booking.com

Central Park

Around Central Park there are many fine buildings. There you will find the Great Theater of Havana and the grand hotels. Even if you do not stay at the hotels you can go up to the roof terrace and visit the bar. On the rooftop you get a nice view of the town. Many nice old cars are parked around the park.

view over Havana
vintage car in Havana
Great Theatre of Havana

Summary


We went with Finnair from Copenhagen to Havana. We stayed 3 nights in Havana, 2 nights in Vinales, 1 night in Cienfuegos, 3 nights in Trinidad, 3 nights at Cayo Santa Maria and 2 nights in Varadero. When we were going from one accommodation to another we went by taxi colectivo. We booked the cars through our accommodations the day before we were going. If we were going on the trip today we would have stayed more nights in Vinales and skipped to go to Varadero.

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+ ampel vid ett gathörn

Verona

There were a lot of people in the streets of Verona. Probably because it was a holiday. It was a hot and sunny day. The children played in the fountain in the square.

child in fountain


We whanted to see the arena. There were also a lot of people. We didn’t really understand what happened and whether to pay or not. We slipped in anyway and sat down on a bench. The arena was full of people and we sat for a while and listened to someone who, for us, kept an incomprehensible speech. It was warm and nice and we sat for a while and looked at everything.

arena in Verona

We walked around in Verona. We looked at a statue of Dante Aligierhi and wondered if it was his wine that we would taste in Valpoliciella the day after tomorrow. We also passed Julia’s balcony. Perhaps it was Romeo himself who was waiting for Julia below.

statue of Dante
The balcony of Juliette

After a good breakfast, made with much love by our hostess at the B&B Quo Vadis Arena, we visited the tomb of Juliette. Then we continued our journey towards Lake Garda.

The rating for the accommodation is shown below. It is a link if you want to read more about it.

Booking.com
the tomb of Juliette

Summery of trip to northern Italy

Flights to and from Treviso, one night in Venedig, one night in Soave
one night in Verona, one night in Malcesine, two nights in Negrar and
one night in Treviso.

+ Soave med borgen i bakgrunden

Soave

We taste their good wines in their lovely yard. To the wine we got salami and three different kinds of cheeses. The daughter in the house told us about the farm and their wines. Coffele were passionate about their work with the vineyard. They were about to become an organic farm. The requirements were tough and it was required that you had grown organically for a few years. We had a very good time at Coffele. It is often the best experience and wine tasting if you book in advance.

Winehouse Coffele
garden in Soave

We went from Venice in the morning. On the way to Soave we stopped at a small food market and bought cheese and strawberries. Our hostess in Vendig told us that we absolutely should visit Padova. So we took a little lunch stop there before we drove on to Soave.

arcade

Soave was a nice little village. It was surrounded by a wall and almost wherever you went you saw the castle which was at a height. We stayed just outside the wall and there it was easy to park. Even from the parking lot and Coffele’s garden we saw the height with the castle.

I had booked accommodation on top of a restaurant. The name was Lo Scudo. In the evening we booked tables there. It was very nice but also the most expensive we ate on the whole trip.

The day after we went to Florence.

Booking.com

Summery of trip to northern Italy

Flights to and from Treviso, one night in Venedig, one night in Soave
one night in Verona, one night in Malcesine, two nights in Negrar and
one night in Treviso.

+ Venedig

Venice

The evening air was wonderfully warm and filled with flower fragrance. Everywhere, early summer flowers, chestnut and elder flowers bloomed. We chose to stay outside Venice in a house near the train. It was a nice old house with a blooming garden. The cozy lady in the house gave us all the information we needed. We felt very well cared for, almost like coming home to my mother. It is exciting with different accommodations. One room had a balcony for the toilet. Casa Villa Gardenia we booked through Booking.com. The review points are a link to the accommodation

Booking.com
canal in Venice

After a nice breakfast cooked with love and home-grown vegetables we went to the train station which was near our accommodation. We went with a fun train. It had two floors. When we arrived in Venice we took Vaparetto No. 1 on the Grand Canal.

Canal grande

We went along the entire canal, passing St. Mark’s Square and the sighs bridge before we got off.

the bridge of the sighs
Doge Palace

We admired St. Mark’s Square and St. Mark’s Basilica before moving on.

Doge Palace
St Mark
Venice

We chose to walk through Venice on the way back to the train station. It felt like a great way to experience Venice. Overall, we went over 11 bridges. We stopped and ate some ice cream and lunch on the way. You do not want to miss the Italian ice cream. Inside Venice, the food didn’t feel very affordable.

canal
gondola under a bridge

We finished the evening with a glass of prosecco on the balcony before we went to bed. After that we went to Soave.

Summery of trip to northern Italy

Flights to and from Treviso, one night in Venedig, one night in Soave,
one night in Verona, one night in Malcesine, two nights in Negrar and
one night in Treviso.

+ Ankor Wat

Cambodia

It’s so close to Thailand, Mom. Can’t we go there? It looks so cool. And so we desided. We canceled our nights in Bangkok and took a flight to Siem Reap.

Ankor Tom

We booked accommodation for three nights in Siem Reap. Perfekt to spend two days in Ankor. We also got some time to look around in town and get some lovely foot massage. We booked a tuktuk that picked us up in the morning outside the hotel.

Booking.com

The man in our tuktuk drove the route we had decided together. He adapted to the length of time we needed at each stop. The area was huge. We went around with tuktuk for two days but we were far from in the whole area

temple in Ankor

In many places there were stone faces. In Bayon there were stone faces in all directions. In another place, a small face appeared in the middle of a tree root.

Bayon
stone figure in ruin
face in a tree

One of the coolest places was Ta Prom. It was very clear that the trees had taken over the ruins. We found fantastic roots elsewhere, but Ta Prom was probably the best known.

roots on ruin

The tour we went on the second day felt much calmer than the first day. At some stop we were the only ones walking around. In a temple, a girl sat and read a book. It looked very restful.

restful in Ankor

There were lakes in the area. The water was quite still which gave beautiful mirror images in the water surface. One lake had green water.

lake in Ankor
sea in Ankor
photografer at green water

The colors in the area were diverse. In some places the ruins were brown or gray. On others it was more pink or orange colors. The contrast to the intensely green nature was fine. It was a very nice experience to visit Ankor and I am very happy that I was persuaded to go there.

stump and ruin
+ bild över Budapest

5 Things to buy in Budapest

When you go to Budapest, I absolutely think you should buy some nice grocerys with you. Budapest has several food markets and I love to visit these.

sausages

1. Paprika powder

In Hungary you can buy several different kinds of paprika powder. There is sweet, strong and smoked paprika powder. There are maybe even more varieties. The powder is much more palatable than I think it is in Sweden. I always buy lot to myself and to my friends.

paprika powder

2. Paprika on tube

In Sweden you can buy tomato paste on tub but I have never seen peppers on tub other than in Hungary. It is very good to use in spice butter or flavor a casserole. If you only travel with hand luggage, it is important to remember that the tube must not be too large. I was unlucky to get rid of a big nice tube at the security check once.

paprika on tube

3. Sausages

In Budapest you can buy a variety of good sausages. In a market we found small sausages that looked like little pigs. Perhaps the most famous brand of sausage is Pick. This is a kind of salami.

sausages

4. Tokaji

In Hungary there is a dessert wine called Tokaji. The wine is golden in different shades. Often it is a sweet wine but the sweetness also varies. Aszú means that the wine is sweet. How many Puttonyos a wine has gives a guide on how sweet it is. 6 Puttonyos is the highest.

Tokaji

5. Cork for Tokaji

In some restaurants you can get a very small roll table with different kinds of Tokaji. In order to be able to find out which variety you want, you can smell at the wine. The wine is dosed in the cork and when you have smelled it is poured into the glass or back into the bottle depending on the choice you made.

cork for Tokaji
Booking.com