Day four, The Italian connection

Playa Pesquero Travel Blog

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Still grey today, but warm and lovely.

Hmm, it is still grey today, I hope we'll see the sun soon. The temperature is wonderful though, a core warming 32 degrees Celsius. Eider, our tour operator's representative, will visit today and we plan on booking some excursions. That will be the first time this vacation that we need any money at all, so I changed money today. The exchange rate wasn't too bad. We tourists only get CUC, the Cuban Convertible Peso. This currency was introduced as an equivalent of the US Dollar in 1994 and in limited use for a decade. In 2004, the Cuban government stopped accepting the US dollar as a valid currency on the island. After a 6 day period in which the Cubans could change dollars for CUC's, the US$ ceased to be in circulation. In fact, as a retaliation for the Helms-Burton Act (US law further increasing the Cuban embargo) US$ are now illegal on Cuba.

 

Yeaaaah, we've booked our excursions! Later this week we are going to Holguin, the capital of the province we're in, see a cigar factory, visit smaller villages, go to peso- and dollar stores and we'll have a real Cuban lunch with Arroz Congri.

The beautiful fading light
We will also go on a catamaran cruise with snorkeling and possibly a Jeep safari. I can hardly wait!!! After booking our excursions we went to the beach today. There we got to know Ramon, the water sports equipment guy and we saw those black vultures again. All-in-all a wonderful lazy day :)

 

After all that lazing I needed to walk around a bit and this time I chose to go out the front of the resort. Light was fading rapidly, so it made it a short walk. Nevertheless, what I saw on this little hike did make me want to come back during daytime. Oh well, perhaps later this week.

 

Tonight we have the first of the à la carte restaurants scheduled. We thought it best to start close to home with Italian food at the Venetian restaurant (or Venecia as Cubans call it). We had a wonderful dinner. It started with the warm welcome we received. It was the perfect balance for the icy air-conditioned temperature. We never have the airco in the room on, and outside temperatures are in the (lovely) high 30's Celsius. So, entering the restaurant was a bit of a shock, but as I said, we received a warm welcome. Fortunately, as the evening progressed temperatures rose a few degrees.

 

After being placed at our table, our waitress poured the drinks and some excellent olive oil on our side plates.

The lovely olive oil with balsamic vinegar
In the middle she poured wonderful, oak flavored, 15 year old, balsamic vinegar. The idea was to dip your (ciabatta-) bread in the mixture. The taste was incredibly lovely!

 

Service was excellent; speedy without being rushed, friendly and professional. For starters we both had the smoked salmon with capers, ultra thinly sliced onion rings and coleslaw. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture. Then Jacomien had 'Picata Milanese de Pollo'; sliced chicken breast fried with a Parmesan crust. She loved it. My main course was the 'Filletta de Manza'; tenderloin, tournedos with cured ham, cooked potatoes and veggies. In all honesty, the veggies weren't that good, but the beef was so excellent and succulent, it made up for the lesser veggies. Again I forgot to take a photo. For desert Jacomien had a cup of tea, which is not my cup of tea, so I savored the tiramisu :) I have tasted quite a few tiramisus in my life and I can honestly say the tiramisu at the Venecia, Playa Costa Verde in Cuba, is one of the best I have ever tasted, closest to the original recipe in Italy. My dinner got even better when they brought me my cappuccino which was also excellent!

 

After dinner we went back to the lounge so I could pay for my cigar from yesterday, but today another man had a watchful eye over the Cuban goodies. He said I needn't worry, they had charged that cigar to my room. There was no need paying right there and then.

Scenes like this never get boring :)
So, since I was there anyway and I could charge everything to the room, I decided on a small 'after dinner' Cohiba. It had a beautiful mild taste, velvety smooth. Jacomien loves the smell of cigars; it makes her week in the knees. :)

 

In the lounge we met a few other Dutch people. The small talk was okay until they heard we had just had dinner at the Italian restaurant. What followed was an elegy of everything not good about the place. This couple had been to The Venecia a couple nights earlier and did nothing but complain about how it was not Italian. After listening to their whining I concluded they were right. It was not to be compared to the Italian food we have back in the Netherlands. Because that my friends, is not authentic Italian food either! Good, but not 'real', if you know what I mean. Besides having a disputable taste, they also seemed to forget we are on Cuba where, in general, the people have NOTHING! No clothing, no house, no food, nothing. The luxury bestowed upon us here is overwhelming, yet here I am listening to some Dutch who do nothing but complain. That is one of the most important reasons Jacomien and I choose NOT to go to places where we come across many Dutch folks. To escape from the other Dutch, we turned in early :)
Sweetski says:
I've worked in the tourist industry for many years. I bet I met a few :D
Posted on: Aug 20, 2010
almond72 says:
You haven't met the absolute moaners from this side of the world yet. :)
Posted on: Aug 20, 2010
bernard69 says:
@ylvia:no,Italian food isn't so expensive(the same price as in France and the wine is cheaper!))we mostly go in family run restaurants:u don't need appetizer,entrée...if u have a full plate of risotto or spaghetti and I don't drink tea but enjoy the cheap Italian coffee:)for us Italian cuisine is with the Chinese and the French the best.That is one of the reasons that we go back there nearly each year!!
Posted on: Aug 12, 2010
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Still grey today, but warm and lov…
Still grey today, but warm and lo…
Look, we have a little sun out!
Look, we have a little sun out!
The beautiful fading light
The beautiful fading light
Im not sure what Jacomien is phot…
I'm not sure what Jacomien is pho…
The lovely olive oil with balsamic…
The lovely olive oil with balsami…
Scenes like this never get boring …
Scenes like this never get boring…
Looks as if Im drowning, but mere…
Looks as if I'm drowning, but mer…
This bird also kept a keen eye on …
This bird also kept a keen eye on…
The vultures
The vultures
I like the sail being the colours …
I like the sail being the colours…
I might take a trip on one of thes…
I might take a trip on one of the…
;)
;)
Sports-car Cuban style
Sports-car Cuban style
Pretty scenery
Pretty scenery
More pretty scenery
More pretty scenery
I wonder what town that is?
I wonder what town that is?
Later this week I am going to retu…
Later this week I am going to ret…
A banana plantation
A banana plantation
Look after us with love, the thr…
'Look after us with love', the th…
The Italian restaurant with fresco…
The Italian restaurant with fresc…
Playa Pesquero
photo by: Sweetski