Cuba Visit | Part 6 Final Impressions

by Jim and Melanie

We’re going to wrap up our trip with a few thoughts and favorite photos from each of us.

From Melanie:

Often I suggest going somewhere — “We should go to Portugal!” “We should go to Turkey!” Even imagine much less exotic locales — “we should go to Missouri!” Agreeing we should is easy, but scheduling it into our lives is harder. Imagine my surprise when I came out of the copy shop in February to hear Jim say, “We should go to Cuba!”

He’d been listening to our local jazz station, KCCK, on the car radio. They had a group tour to Cuba scheduled for October. Given all the political changes between the two countries, we knew this would be a prime time to go, so we said “Yes!”

We hadn’t been on a group trip before. One question I had was if I would feel like punching someone by day 3. In fact, the other travelers in our group were lovely, and I hope for long-lasting friendships with some. Another question I had about group travel was if the arrangements including food and accommodations, as well as tour stops, would justify the price. For this trip, in my opinion, it was. We had access to some experiences that would have been difficult, at best, traveling on our own.

Cuba was an interesting country, full of contradictions. As Cubans themselves say, “It’s complicated.” I hope we can go back in a few years to see how things change.

Here are a few of my favorite photos. The common theme in all of them is lines. (Click on any picture to see the gallery with larger photos.)


I have one other favorite, of a sculpture in the Plaza de Vieja. By Roberto Fabelo, it is titled “Viaje Fantastico.”

Everyone's gotta eat.

Everyone’s gotta eat.


From Jim:

“We should go to Cuba!” I’m glad we did. It revealed a land of beautiful people who work very hard to make ends meet. The were kind and receptive to us. May they move cautiously into a more normal relationship with the rest of the world. I hope they retain a sense of control over the strong influences of people and money that will want to profit from them.

My pictures don’t seem to have a theme. I like these for a variety of reasons.


My last image is from the works of Jose Fuster. This large hand reaching upward toward the light is symbolic to me of the dreams and aspirations of the Cuban people. I wish them peace.



You can find the previous posts about our trip by following this link. Thank you for joining us.


13 thoughts on “Cuba Visit | Part 6 Final Impressions

  1. Jim Wheeler

    Nice. This was educational.

    Some 15 years ago, Mollie and I resolved to travel in retirement. Initially we roamed by car from Oklahoma to Illinois doing genealogy research. A trip back East to visit Mollie’s relatives and a family reunion. Then we joined some Tauck tours, starting with one in New Orleans and the South. We revisited a favorite place in Maine (Ocean Point). And, we took a number of cruises, including the Caribbean, Alaska and New England. Mexico made us grateful we didn’t live there. One trip back to Hawaii, last seen by us in 1964. I have to say, the most enjoyable of the lot was the initial genealogy travel because it seemed justified by the challenge of finding information.

    1. Melanie McNeil

      We justify a lot of travel recently with hiking. 🙂 There is supposed to be excellent hiking in the VInales Valley of Cuba, but this of course was a different kind of trip. I expect it to stay in my top few favorite travel experiences. But there are several others already on that list, some much closer to home.

      Thanks for going along with us, Jim.

    2. Jim in IA Post author

      Thank you, Jim.

      I can appreciate your efforts toward genealogical research. That can really add up in miles and time. It is fun to find some nuggets of info now and then. They are often just enough to keep one on the hunt.

      Thanks for joining us on this adventure.

  2. OceanDiver

    One of the great things about travel is remembering the cornucopia of experiences, sights, smells, thoughts, feelings, friends from the time…and then the anticipation of the next journey. The few days spent in the trip itself stick out more powerfully than we expect considering how small a part of our life that was. Travel is good, and well worth it. I hope you folks have a chance to explore some more! Thanks for sharing a bit of your wonderful time in Cuba 🙂

    1. Jim in IA Post author

      We couldn’t agree more. Writing about the different aspects of the trip has helped us more firmly plant the memories. We also have had a get-together with some of our group. We relived many memories.

      We will explore more. There is a lot to take in. Thank you for your kind words as you followed along.

  3. Steve Schwartzman

    Many of us have heard of Lady Godiva, but Roberto Fabelo’s sculptured tale is a new and fantastic variation on the theme. Speaking of sculpture, you did a good job of photographing José Fuster’s hand blocking the sun above some cumulus clouds. Might that view be a political take on the current situation?

    1. Jim in IA Post author

      Fabelo has many other fantastic works to be seen by google imaging his name.

      It was an inspired moment when I shot the hand. I’m glad you liked it. Thinking about it later, it seemed symbolic in a positive way to me.

  4. Debra

    Wow! What an adventure. I read somewhere that out of necessity Cuba developed a beautifully sustainable culture of organic farming because they were denied access to the so-called improvements of pesticides and herbicides. I sure hope that they can hold onto that lead and that they won’t be pressured by big-ag to forsake their accomplishment.

  5. Mrs. P

    I had to laugh at the thought of Melanie being mad enough to punch someone. Great insights from your trip in Cuba, I really like the statue in the plaza, too!

    Jim, though your pictures didn’t have a theme they showed the humorous side of you I like that.


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