Pam Usher

Pam and Tom

Pam Usher

We love travelling and we never get tired of seeing new places, learning about the history, meeting new people all over the world, observing different lifestyles and cultures. Our philosophy is to "live today as if there is no tomorrow". However as a well known travel writer, Bill Bryson has said in the Forward of his book 'The Road Less Traveled', "There are more fantastic things in this world to see than you can possibly hope to get to. You are just not going to live long enough. Sorry. So why are you just sitting there? Turn the page for goodness sake, and start planning". So that is what we are doing.

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » La Habana July 22nd 2018

Depart Havana & Cuba Highlights - Friday 20 July Day 15 As Jess was going to a northern beach the following day for a week, we decided to spend the morning with her until we were picked up a 4.30pm to fly to Mexico City. We had seen so much in Havana, after being there on and off for 6 days but we still hadn’t seen the telescopic camera which had a live view over the whole of the old town section. For 2 CUC we went up on the elevator and was shown to a small room which was where the images of the town were directed onto a circular concave surface. The operator pointed out various features of a city we had got to know very well. After the ‘show’ we went out onto ... read more
Flying into Mexico City (5)
Mexico City airport
Mexico City airport (2)

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » La Habana July 17th 2018

Flight from Baracoa to Havana Tuesday 17 & Wednesday 18 July Day 12 & 13 We were to fly back to the other end of the island, back to Havana. The flight itself took about 2 hours. However there are often delays and flight departure times do vary. Initially we were to get to the airport at 12md. Tom and I had gone for a walk to the very eastern tip of Baracoa and then back into the city centre for some wifi. Tom decided to go back to our accommodation before me. Luckily, he did because our guide Camilo was there to tell us that we had to go to the airport immediately - at 11.00am. They took all by bags to the car and then Tom raced down to get me while they drove ... read more
A Mega Majito beer
Havana (6)
La Bodeguita del Medio Bar Havana

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Este » Baracoa July 15th 2018

Baracoa Sun-Mon 15-16 July Day 10 & 11 We had 2 full days to explore Baracoa and it’s surrounds. On the way we had 2 stops. The first was after we drove through Guantanamo town, about 15 kms we went to a lookout and saw the American Guantanamo Bay prison and township through binoculars!!!! Next was a beautiful Alto de Codillo Lookout that had a 360 degree view of the Baracoa district. It was lush green in places, but we could see many sections of stripped trees resulting from the hurricane of 12 month ago. It was a steep climb but worth it. A very poor village of about 100 people live next to the lookout and try to sell fruit, sweets and souvenirs. There was a bar there also and the locals were well on ... read more
Alto de Codillo Lookout (8)
Baracoa (1)

Santiago de Cuba Frid-Sat 13-14 July Day 8,9 I was still trying to change our flights from LAX to Brisbane but still with no luck due to the restricted technology. Immediately after breakfast I went into the nearby Plaza to hook up to the wifi. The only advantage was that I spoke to Kerrie and Gemma who were in the middle of Gemma’s performance in Creative Generation. It was so good to talk to her which was the 1st time since Poppie died. She had also sent us photos of Gemma performing. That was also so good. I also received texts from Sheryl and sister-in-law Kerry who was in Vietnam. So not all was lost. We left Camaguey around 9.00 am and we did not get to Santiago de Cuba until 5.00pm stopping a couple of ... read more
Castle San Pedro De La Roca in Santiago de Cuba (62)
Castle San Pedro De La Roca in Santiago de Cuba (1)
Castle San Pedro De La Roca in Santiago de Cuba (60)

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Centro » Camagüey July 11th 2018

Camaguey Wed-Thurs 11 & 12 July Day 6 & 7 After a rough night we started our drive towards Camaguey. The vehicle that they sent us was a station wagon with 2 fold down seats at the back making it a 7-seater. All the bags had to go on the roof rack. After some discussion we decided to accept the vehicle but under duress. Our first stop was only 30 minutes out of Trinidad, stopping at a large old sugar homestead in Sugarcane Valley. This was where the slaves were bought from different African countries to work the sugar cane fields. The men wore heavy balls and chains while they worked. There was a very tall tower built so that the whole property could we watched and guarded from above. Slavery was only banned 20 years ... read more
Ballet Acadamy of Camaguey (5)
Bronze statues in Plaza de Carmen Camaguey (2)
Ballet Acadamy of Camaguey (11)

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Centro » Trinidad July 9th 2018

Sun-Mon-Tues 8, 9 & 10 July Day 3-5: Trinidad We had 2 ½ days to enjoy this beautiful colonial UNESCO city of Trinidad which is home to numerous churches and many colonial buildings. Nearby are the Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of Sugarmills) which we visited on the way out of Trinidad and Playa Ancón, where we enjoyed long stretches of white sand beaches. Nowadays, Trinidad's main industry is tobacco processing. The older parts of town are well preserved, as the Cuban tourism industry sees benefit from tour groups. In contrast, some parts of town outside the tourist areas are very run down and in disrepair, especially in the centre. Tourism from Western nations is major source of income in the city. The Plaza Mayor of Trinidad is a plaza and an open-air museum of Spanish ... read more
Ancun Beach 14 kms from Trinidad
Ancun Beach 14 kms from Trinidad

Saturday 7 July Day 2: Cienfuegos via Santa Clara The next morning, we met David and after breakfast we took our bags to a taxi van which we to be our transport to Cienfuegos and Trinidad. This was where we would change drivers and vehicles. As we were only a group of 4, they didn’t need a large bus. We drove about 3 hours on the excellent National Highway 1 to Santa Clara. Upon entering Santa Clara, we encounter a huge statue of Ernesto Ché Guevara. We then took some time to visit the museum that is directly under the statue, and which told the story of Ché’s fascinating life. We could not take our cameras in the museum. There is also a mausoleum with an eternal flame that commemorates his death and that of ... read more
Ernesto Ché Guevara Memorial (2)
Ernesto Ché Guevara Memorial (8)
Ernesto Ché Guevara Memorial (4)

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » La Habana July 3rd 2018

Tuesday 3 July Day 5: Havana We left Vinales about 9.00am after more failed attempts to access money but we were (almost) convinced that all would be OK with the ATMs back in Havana. We return to Havana driving through to beautiful western Cuban mountainous countryside before driving over the plains. We got to Havana at about 1.00pm where we did an hour walking tour with our guide Dany. We visited Plaza San Fransisco, Vieja and de Armas as well as Cathedral Square. For several of plazas, it was our second visit, but it was better hearing the history of the Plazas. We even saw a food-ration outlet where people still go to get their basic requirements at a very low price. This ensures everyone receives the essential food requirements. During the Old Town walking tour, ... read more
El Rum Rum Restaurant our last night with western Cuba tour friends - Danny Lisa Tracy Tom Toby Lisa & Rick (1)
El Rum Rum Restaurant our last night with western Cuba tour friends (5)
Havana (2)

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » Viñales July 1st 2018

Sun-Mon 1 & 2 July Day 3,4: Viñales After another hearty (fresh, organic) breakfast, before leaving Soroa, we visited an excellent orchid garden with about 200 different types of orchids, more than half of which are Cuban species. The property was developed from 1960 by a man who had lost his wife during the delivery of their daughter. It was beautiful and so cool. Massive ficus trees provided homes for epiphytes as well. On the bus we watched a video on the Peak Oil crisis of the 1990s when the USA started their crippling embargoes on Cuba. People were starving as Cuba’s partnership with Russia produced a reliance on Russian tractors and fertilisers for their urban agriculture. Cuba had to take drastic steps to change. All spare land and roof tops in Havana were used to ... read more
Mogotes around Viñales (1)
Santo Tomas Cave near Vinales (20)
Mogotes around Viñales (3)

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Oeste » Viñales June 30th 2018

Saturday 30 June Day 2: Soroa via Las Terrazas We joined our co-travellers for breakfast of fruit, vegies, chick peas, pancakes, guava pie, eggs and bread roll. Fresh juices and coffee was all the go as well. At 8.30am we hopped on the air-conditioned bus. Dany gave us water to fill our bottles each morning and throughout the day. On the way to Soroa we stopped at a couple of community art projects. Firstly to Callejon de Hammel where local resident Salvador Gonzáles Escalona has painted and decorated a pedestrian alleyway which has now become a cultural focal point with workshops for young Cuban children to learn painting. Next in the outskirts of Havana we visited the fishing village of Jaimanitas and the home of the famous artist Jose Fuster. Fuster has made his entire home, ... read more
Callejon de Hammel  just outside Havana (1)
Callejon de Hammel  just outside Havana (3)
Our Hostel Yumy in Soroa (9)

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