Well, we did it! On May 10th, in Cuba, we got married. I am now Victoria Russell!
We flew out to Cuba on May 4th with our closest family.The hotel we stayed at was amazing. A huge 13 storey building that completely dominates the coast line, I was worried that it might be a bit ugly but I couldn’t have been more wrong.
The view from our sea view room was to die for. I could have sat and looked out of it all day and not got bored.
The first week went really quickly. We had bits and pieces to sort out for the wedding and we got a few trips in too. We did a day on a Catamaran which was lovely. We got to chill out on the nets for a hour whilst we sailed to a an island called Cayo Blanco. It was an idyllic Caribbean island.
After a BBQ lunch there we headed for our swim with dolphins. It’s something I’ve never been massively bothered about doing but we thought we’d be daft not to take the opportunity. I’m so glad we did! They were amazing and felt really different than I imagine. Really soft!
The other trip we got in was a Jeep Tour day. It was the best £150 odd quid I’ve ever spent. The first hour was spend mainly off road seeing some of the real Cuba rather than the tourist areas. It was really good (more than a bit bumpy) but shocking how poor the majority of the people are.
We then went back to the coast for some snorkeling on a coral reef. It was breath taking. I’ve snorkeled in the Caribbean before but it was even better than I remembered.
After lunch on a ranch, a horse and a bull ride (!) we stopped at our final destination – flooded caves.
Apart from the wedding day, this was without doubt the holiday highlight. The water was fresh and probably about 10 degrees. Exactly what we needed after a day of sea and sand. It felt like a real once in a life time experience.
The wedding day itself was perfect. Really lovely and relaxed. No pomp or fuss. We all ate breakfast together then divided up to get ready. The ceremony was at 2pm (I was only minutes late!) and we were married by 2.20pm! We then spent about 30 minutes having photos and another hour chilling out eating cake and drinking champagne.
Our family then went to the lobby bar in the hotel and we went back to the room for an hour (I needed the air con!!) and freshened up.
Making use of the cooler air later on in the day, we had a few more photographs taken on the board walk to the beach and then headed to the restaurant for dinner.
It was the perfect day.
We then had another week in Cuba. We managed to get in an overnight trip to Havana, which was only about 100 miles away. I’m really glad we did it but it wasn’t like I expected. Like all of Cuba, it’s somewhat stuck in the 50’s, which we obviously knew. But before we left, I think I had in mind a slightly idealist view of a 50’s film set, rather than real life! It felt less charming and more desperate for some resources and money. There were some beautiful buildings though.
We had lunch in the highest building in Havana; the view was amzing. It was also great to visit Revolution Sqaure.
We also visited a cigar and rum factory, Hotel Ambos Mundos of the Ernest Hemingway fame, Club Tropicana and the Capitol building. We were definitely glad we did it; you can’t visit Cuba and not go to Havana!
Our time there was all too short. We had never stayed at an all inclusive hotel before (Varadero doesn’t do anything but) but I could definitely get used to it. Mojitos on tap wasn’t difficult to adjust to.
I would definitely recommend Cuba, more specifically Varadero and Hotel Blau. We genuinely couldn’t really fault it. We are so pleased we went with our dream of getting married abroad, we have some wonderful memories of not only a perfect wedding day but an amazing once in a life time holiday.