Here is Part I of ‘My Long Weekend in Cuba’ As you can imagine, the classic car is king over there, and everywhere you turned there was a different car to be seen: Bentley or Rolls? Thunderbirds The car we rode in all weekend... I was surprised to find, however, that one of the more common ways to get around the city is by horse and buggy – I was not expecting that at all. Hitchhiking is yet another method used to get from one place to another, and we saw many people seeking rides along the highway. Horse and Buggy Speaking of people, I found the locals to be delightful. Despite the fact that I only speak a smattering of Spanish, I found myself able to communicate and everyone was so friendly. I also found Cuba to be very safe, and had no problems walking through the streets of Havana at night. 'Eric' Trumpet Man The food was fine. No street food for us; we ate at ‘paladars’ and we never got sick. One of my nieces is a vegetarian, however, and at first we thought she would have a tough time. We were able to find a paladar, though, that catered to vegetarians, and their offerings were outstanding. We also enjoyed the chocolate milk at the Museo de Chocolata (sooo good!), as well as the ice cream in one of the local shops. The drinks? Marvelous, LOL! We had mojitos, Cuba Libres and pina coladas, and they were all delicious. Making my Pina Colada... Our tours took us to the cities of Vinales and Matanzas. Vinales was where we toured a tobacco farm and saw how cigars were made. I also learned that the tobacco farmers only receive 10% from the sale of their harvest after selling their crops to the government, which they must do. House in the Vinales Valley Tobacco Farm Tobacco Leaves I Didn't Inhale - I Promise! I especially enjoyed the city of Matanzas, where we stopped and spent time at Varadero Beach, which was beautiful. Crystal clear water, white powdery sand and a gorgeous day – it was perfect. Varadero Beach Overall, I am happy to have seen Cuba in its current state. I predict, though, that while there will be many changes, those changes will not come soon, and Starbucks will not open up a storefront any time in the near future. I am planning a return visit, this time without my nieces to further explore the country.