We had one heck of a family holiday this year. After years of no holidays and one attempt at 'glamping' in a teepee it was time to hit the long-haul. We consider ourselves pretty well-seasoned travellers but travelling with kids is different, for a start it costs four times as much as it would if it was just me, my backpack and my Rough Guide. So price has definitely put us off in the past, but as the experience has proved, worth it in spades.
We took the kids out of school, packed far too much and set off for Havana amidst snow storms and French air strikes, but finally descended, apprehensive and exhausted 14 hours later. The tropical warmth met us off the aeroplane along with the smell of cigars (I know, the biggest cliché but true!). The thrill of being somewhere really foreign was what I needed, to escape the routine, experience the freedom, dive into the unknown and the faintly scary. We queued and had our photo's taken at the strict airport controls, tired children needing the loo, too hot, too hungry and the fun had begun. The drive into Havana had my heart thudding and my head a spin with relief, nerves and a lack of Spanish verbs - what had we done taking our precious children into such an unfamiliar place? Zigzagging through the traffic as only you do in developing countries, past bars dimly lit with the little electricity available, 1950's American cars chugged slowly beside us as clichéd as the cigars, beautiful - choking thick black smoke, carrying Cubans to their destination. A huge neon Che Guevara greeted us into the city, alongside his lesser known compadre Camilo Cienfuegos...Hasta la victoria siempre...blimey, it was some taxi journey into the capital.