We woke up early and were very thankful that we had packed the previous night. We went down for breakfast although I didn't eat much. I am not a morning person and eating pancakes at 7:30am was wearing thin.
Fed, watered and checked out, we waited for our pick up which was due at 9am. We waited, waited and waited some more. The Mrs went to find the rep who informed her that the bus was 20 mins away. So we waited, waited and waited some more.
Another conversation with the rep and we were informed that a message was left for us at reception to inform us that our pick up was at 12pm. Off the reception we went and low and behold, there was no message nor had they ever received one.
At this stage I could have got irritated and angry and if I was in Ireland the rep and everyone else involved would have got the full hairdryer treatment. I wasn't in Ireland, I was on holidays, in Cuba, so I went and bought some Cigars!!
I went up to the Cigar shop in the hotel and bought a load of singles. I cant remember what I bought (sorry) but it cheered me up.
At this stage it was around 11am. The whole morning had been wasted sitting in the lobby. The Mrs was a little pissed off as we could have spent the morning enjoying our last few hours in Havana. 12pm came and went with no sign of our pick up. Eventually, an hour later, a little six seat van arrived and we were ready to go.
We were the only two in the van and we were on our way to Varadero. The journey didn't take too long. The Mrs fell in and out of sleep as I took in the surrounding countryside. Outside of the city, Cuba is a beautiful country. Green fields, red soil and a beautiful ocean accompanied me on the journey. Dotted along the roads were people selling fruit and refreshments and the odd bus stop seemed to be thronging with locals going too and fro. In my opinion, this was Cuba!!
We pulled into Sandals Royal Hicacos just before 3pm. The weather was glorious and we were happy to arrive. We checked in at reception and received a glass of Champagne. Then the waiting resumed, an hour of it, waiting on our room. Once again the urge to blow up was calmed by my idyllic surroundings.
We finally got into the room in time for me to turn on the TV and see that Manchester United were losing 1-0 to Everton. The Mrs unpacked as I watched the rest of the game puffing on a Cohiba mini (a great "I want a cigar but I don't" cigarillo) United lost, I showered and we hit the resort to get something to eat.
We ended up in the beach bar & grill where I had a very quick and satisfying Burger and Chips. After the food we went for a walk on the beach. The sand was golden and the water was crystal clear.
We walked around the resort for a while, getting our bearings, before returning to our room to chill out before dinner. We were informed that all the Al a Carte restaurants were closed that night so the buffet was our only option.
After reading reviews about the buffet on the lead up to the holiday I was a bit wary. I shouldn't have been. Like the breakfast in Havana, the buffet had enough choice to suit any palate. I cant remember what I had but it would be a safe assumption to say I had a bit of everything. There was pizza, pasta, salad, seafood, burgers, hot-dogs among an array of other food choices. Nothing to complain about.
After dinner we went to the lobby bar and started on the cocktail menu. I started with a Whiskey Sour and lit up a Sancho Panza ( my 1st and last). We went in search of the outdoor show but nothing seemed to be happening. On our travels we spotted the Cigar Bar and with the lack of entertainment we popped in and I finished my cigar while sipping on a Glenlivitt 12yr old whiskey.
I finished my Cigar and we returned to the lobby bar. We sat at the bar and before long got chatting to a lovely Scottish couple, Barry and Emma who will be here on out know as "The Scots".
Now the Scottish and Irish are very similar people and when it comes to drinking neither want to let the side down. The excitement of a great week ahead, along with meeting new people, the paradise that surrounded us along with the heat it brought with it, throw in an all inclusive bar and a Scottish and Irish couple and you have the making of a very good night.
Before long we were back in the Cigar Bar as Barry and I sipped on 12yr old whiskey and puffed on a couple of cigars, a Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No.2 for him, a Partagas Series D No 4 for me. The better halves looked on sipping on their cocktails.
Cigars extinguished, we headed for Sandals world famous nightclub, originally named, Varaderos!! If its not world famous, it should be, for all the wrong reasons. The DJ was playing a lot of dated hits and when I requested a few songs he had never heard of them. At this stage we were well on and decided to call it a night. The Mrs and I went to the late night Bistro and grabbed a burger and a couple of pizzas.
We brought them back to the room and after eating the burger I fell asleep, pizza untouched, and dreaming of a great week ahead.
|Our lobby view for the morning
|Not so happy waiting
|View from the beach bar
|Whiskey and Sancho Panza
|Posing after dinner
|Enjoying the night
|Cigars and Whiskey