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Sun, sea, culture and no adverts - welcome to Cuba
Walking down a UK high street can be a totally mundane experience, with the same shops and brands displaying their garish signs wherever you go. I could stroll along any town centre retail zone and not have the blindest clue of whether I am in Romford, Reading or Redcar. It all looks and feels the same. Perhaps this is why I find Havana so appealing. The Cuban capital still maintains its rustic Hispanic charm and the country's leaders have long resisted the urge to build a McDonalds or Primark on every corner. Years of communist rule have made this one of the most unique places in the world in my opinion and I just cannot get enough of it.
Seeing 1950s cars tootling through the streets is also a surreal, but strangely satisfying experience. I often smile when I think about the current clamour for retro styles, which appear to be in vogue in the UK at the moment, as the Cubans have managed to maintain this trend without realising it.
Smoking a locally-made cigar and sipping on a mojito, while listening to live bands in one of Havana's many bars is my idea of holiday heaven. I have found it to be a haven for those who favour baking Caribbean temperatures mixed with a vast sprinkling of historical importance. The place oozes culture. As a fan of popular video game Call of Duty: Black Ops, a trip out to see the Bay of Pigs - where the Cubans famously managed to fend off the invading US military in 1961 - was an undeniable highlight.
I've mentioned before that I cannot make do with spending an entire holiday passively soaking up the rays on an idyllic beach. However, Cuba is another place that enables holidaymakers to benefit from a combination of relaxation and activity, meaning the whole family can enjoy their perfect break. Cuba was one of Ernest Hemingway's favourite places and much of the Nobel-prize-winning writer's best work may have been inspired by the laid-back culture of the island. Little has changed architecturally since his passing in 1961 and I for one hope that the country's unique charm is preserved for many more years to come.
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