I feel we needed a capitalised greeting given it’s been such a bloody long time since I posted anything on here. I’ve been having a FAB summer, with lots of adventures, which has been so lovely after all the shitty illness and surgery stuff – it’s been busy!
After my last blog post, I went to Cuba; I’ve wanted to go there since I was about sixteen so I felt VERY lucky to finally have the opportunity to. My favourite thing about the place was unquestionably the people – as Cuba is such a poor country, lots of the citizens don’t have a lot of money but they have SO much spirit. We spoke to lots of staff at the hotel, all of whom had to travel two hours every day to get to and from work, many worked two jobs and had very limited time off because they wanted to make as much money for their family as possible. A tour guide told me that doctors there make around $35 (USD) per MONTH, which is about £26. Everything is mad expensive out there because almost everything has to be imported, so the citizens can’t really afford much. One man was telling me that lots of them burn because they don’t have enough money for sun cream – one bottle we could get for about £6 over here was about £20 over there. On the last day, I went to see a lady we had met during our time there – Yanalis – to give her some things (clothes, sun cream, shampoo etc), she was SO grateful that she welled up, she must have hugged me about six times before I left; I know that I’ll never forget her. It was truly humbling to see how little the people had, but how grateful they were for everything that they did have.
Another way in which Cuba fascinated me was how it’s like taking a step back in time; of course, there’s the ‘postcard Cuba’ with the old cars and colonial buildings, which in fairness, were so cool, but there’s also just miles and miles of farm land with people still using horses and carts to get around. It’s a country that is WORLDS apart from Britain and it really is something to experience. The government is in charge of the internet so citizens have to pay per hour to access wifi and tourists are encouraged to use the ‘Cuban Convertible Peso’ which you can only access once you’re there and aren’t supposed to take out of the country because it’s worth nothing outside of Cuba. A big difference from nipping down to the Bureau de Change to get some euros for your cheeky trip to Dam with the lads.
Cuba is a BEAUTIFUL place and unlike anywhere else I’ve been. The beaches were picturesque and made for amazing sunsets, the old fashioned cars and brightly coloured colonial buildings were so cool to see and the people were absolutely wonderful. It really is a place to experience and I hope that you get the opportunity to visit it one day.
After Cuba, I came home and spent time with my lovely boyfriend, Ryan, for a while before we went on our first adventure together – to Rome. Neither of us had ever been before and we both absolutely loved it. We arrived in the city at around 8pm, quickly showered and went off for dinner and a wander – we found the Trevi fountain, got pressured into buying two photos by a small man with a polaroid camera, before essentially conducting a photo shoot for an American couple in front of it (luckily, they returned the favour). Following that, we went for cocktails and ice cream – a perfect first night if you ask me!
Over the weekend, we explored the Colosseum, the Forum and the Vatican City. Rome is absolutely breathtaking – the buildings are amazing and it’s so cool to think that when you’re walking around ancient ruins, you’re walking in some of the same places as Julius Caesar and other famous historical names. Not going to lie to you, I had full on ‘history fan girl’ moments across the entirety of the weekend – I am one COOL woman. It’s so weird to think that people who live in Rome are just ambling around these amazing buildings and historical sites as they get on with their day to day business!
Night time is always my favourite time in a big city and Rome was no different. The temperature dropped (going in the height of summer proved somewhat challenging for me as a closet ginger) which gave the perfect amount of warmth to wander around. My favourite thing about Rome was all of the side streets which were home to pretty restaurants, gelaterias and courtyards with fountains. Wandering around and discovering these somewhat more hidden gems was so fun, it’s always good to explore, isn’t it?
I loved taking both of these trips and will remember them forever. Have you been anywhere on holiday? I’d love to hear about any adventures it in the comments below. Hope you’re having a great summer – typical Britain with lots of rain, ay?
Stacks of love,