Our last few days have been spent in the beach resort area of Varadero, at the all-inclusive Iberostar. All inclusive resorts are nice because, well, everything is included. Steve could drink an unlimited amount of rum and food is available 24/7.
It’s kind of like a cruise on land. We even had dinner one night at the Japanese restaurant and learned to make rum drinks.
The cool thing is that we are still on “program” with Marathon Tours which means we have one or two excursions per day available to us that allow us to “support the Cuban people.” This is where the real fun is.
One excursion included a trip into the town of Matanzas which is the location of Cuba‘s oldest baseball stadium Palma de Junco. It’s also home of the newly created Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame. Baseball is huge here, and we were able to meet a Hall of Famer, Jose Estrada Gonzales, “Pepito” and get our picture taken with him, along with a signed ball.
We watched up-and-coming Cuban baseball stars practice and then got a turn at bat.
From there we did a walking tour of the town and interacted with locals on the way. I always have candy in my purse. Sweets and a smile is a good icebreaker￼￼￼￼￼ worldwide.
Another excursion was a trip to the Cuban Dance Academy where we watched and then danced with folkloric dancers.
Our time in Varadero was relaxing and rejuvenating after the race but now we are headed into the countryside to explore another slice of this mysterious island.