March 10, 2017
After a half day in the Viñales area, we spent the rest of the afternoon travelling back to Havana, with a brief stop at a roadside café. We got back to the Hotel Sevilla at about 3 pm and dropped our bags in our room before heading out for a last look around Havana. We did wander along a few streets we hadn’t seen before, and then returned to the hotel.
Tonight we were all going out for a farewell dinner, which was planned for the Havana Rum-Rum restaurant. It was located in the Old Town and so was very close to the hotel, and it was very different from the other restaurants we had been eating at. For one thing the tables weren’t wobbly! But mostly we weren’t eating “criollo food”, which is plain food which comes from local farms.
Rosemary had pork chops, which turned out to be pork ribs, and Paul had Octopus a la Gallega. Both were very good. Rosemary’s piña colada was very good too, and Paul’s caipirinha must have been made with strong rum because it almost knocked him flat before the food arrived! But it was a very good Cuban restaurant experience.
March 11, 2017
Today was our last day in Cuba, and we were leaving early in the morning whereas most of the British contingent were leaving late in the afternoon to catch overnight flights home. So after breakfast we said our goodbyes to some of our group and then went to fetch our bags and check out. We thought we would have time to say goodbye to Ruth, but as it happened our taxi was already waiting, so we were out the door before seeing her.
At the airport, check-in was quick once we figured out which was the Air Canada lineup. Leaving the country was quick too; a stamp in our passport and a return of our visitor visa was all we had to do. Security was likewise very straightforward so we were soon at our gate. We met São there and chatted with her until her flight left.
We also exchanged our remaining CUC’s, which was an interesting experience. We gave the clerk our money and asked for Canadian dollars. But she only had a $100 Canadian bill and we didn’t have enough CUC’s for that. Paul offered a $10 Canadian bill to make up the difference, but she couldn’t do it that way. Okay then, we said we would take UK pounds instead. We can always use them. But no, she didn’t have any pounds. Only US dollars and euros. Luckily we didn’t mind euros, so that’s what we ended up with.
Finally they called our flight—not at the gate the screen said—and we were on our way home. Goodbye Cuba!