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J'AIME January 2021

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T R AV E L Cuba - Get

T R AV E L Cuba - Get Your Groove On! HOLLY THOMSON LEAVES RAINY OLD BRITAIN BEHIND TO EXPLORE VIBRANT CUBA When choosing a destination to holiday, Cuba may seem like an odd choice. For those fond of history, Cuba will be well remembered for the infamous Cuban Missile Crisis and its tumultuous history with the USA. Those interested in politics may be intrigued by the country’s ties to communism and a way of life unlike our own. Others may know Cuba for its lucrative rum and cigar trade but maybe only a few would associate Cuba as a holiday destination. I also had these varied assumptions of the country before I set foot on its soil. I had learnt about the Cuban Missile Crisis at school, its politics at university and as a result of student life, also became fond of the rum Cuba supplied as well! As I boarded my flight to this secretive country, weighed down with presumptions about what I would encounter, I wasn’t quite prepared to be greeted with warm hospitality, rich and vibrant culture and a zest for life which I haven’t experienced anywhere else. Over the course of two weeks I travelled across Cuba, from Havana to Trinidad, and broadened my ideas of the world from within this small, secretive and secluded nation. My journey across this Caribbean island started in Havana. I stayed in a guest house a stone’s throw away from Old Havana and spent four days in the capital. The city has expanded, with the outskirts of the old centre becoming more and more high rise, adapting to the demands of the 21st century. Whilst this part of the city may seem cold and lifeless, the larger and more tempting Old Havana certainly doesn’t lack life and warmth. A short stroll through the market streets and squares will reveal colourful and varied store fronts, selling everything from original artwork to cigar cases. Alongside these tourist shops are produce stores, filled with the tempting colours and aroma of tropical fruit. 26

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