Monday, 5 November 2012

Holiday Fiasco 2012!

Well we made it back home safely, so hold that thought as you read about this years adventure. It may take 2 posts to bring you up to speed so here goes....

We picked all three excited children up from their respective schools on Friday October 19th and set off for Manchester; the builder hates to set off so early (we were due to fly Saturday at 10.30am) but after years of problems, mistakes and me generally worrying so much I start to cry he has given in to my demands! The drive took an age, we're about 4 to 4 and a half hours away from Manchester and it was the busiest time of the week on the roads. We had chosen to fly from Manchester so we could get a full 2 weeks in without extra days off school, Little Miss and number 1 son already needed 5 days off for the holiday as it was. Number 1 son is in sixth form college and they wouldn't authorise a holiday so he's marked down on their records as having taken an "unauthorised absence"!

We stopped on the way for some food & drink at a motorway "welcome break" - not that welcoming as we seemed to need a bank loan for a small snack! Then on to the travelodge; well that has to be the darkest, dampest grimmest place I've ever had the displeasure to stay in - however it was a means to an end.

All the way from home until arrival at the airport the following day I checked, double checked, then checked again all the paperwork, passports, visa's etc. I had printed and brought with me every scrap of paper relating to the holiday, just to cover every eventuality. As I found out later in the holiday every eventuality can not be covered!

However the kind lady on the check in desk let us all through to the departure lounge, non of the bags were over weight and all was looking rosy. I did get pulled over at security as I had a hairspray in my bag but it was small enough to be allowed through (I'd double checked that!). And the flight was on time..... nothing could go wrong now.

After an uneventful flight we were in Cuba, yes they let us in! The tour company coach met us and did a fabulous en-route check in so that on arrival at the hotel we already had our room keys, restaurant reservations and all the necessary information we needed. We disembarked the coach and enjoyed the champagne we were handed. We were a little nervous of the very dark cloud hanging over the hotel and after exploring the resort a little the heavens opened. But it's just a tropical rainstorm, not unexpected, and Cuba is so green and lush, they must have a reasonable amount of rain.

The hotel had a beautiful pergola in the sea for weddings

And a massage hut with waves lapping around it's supports, I noted that for later in our stay!

The heavens opened more that evening and we saw a lot of this

This picture is taken from the reception/bar area which is open sided, the rain was the most torrential I have ever seen; and I live in England!
However the sun was shining on day 2 and we did a lot of swimming, the snorkeling out from the beach was better than we had expected and kept everyone entertained until the next meal.

Food on the resort was on tap 24/7 and I for one made the most of it!
           The 10lb's I'd lost before went is almost all back on!

The evening restaurants were the best we've ever had too 

Sorry it's a dreadful photo!
We went to a local market for shopping on the Tuesday as it was a little overcast, and had a taxi ride in one of the old American cars, a Chevrolet I think.

But when we got there the rain began again, so we dodged under a tarpaulin stretched between two trees to keep the sun off the stallholders; we never actually left that spot and the taxi arrived to take us back to the hotel 45 minutes later!

And then the next day strange things began to happen around the hotel. We were confused. The display of awards in the lobby area went from this
to this....

And all the lights and chandeliers hanging in the restaurant and lobby areas were discretely removed.

Then we noticed that the canoes, pedalos and sail boats had been moved from the beach and placed in the middle of the hotel garden! The beach sun loungers were carried into the gardens too and tied together....Whatever was going on?

There was a queue of people approaching the reception desk but we ignored them and headed out to enjoy the sun which later appeared from out of the clouds.

 Some while later we spotted a couple of notices which had been put up in reception for the guests, the children thought it was all very exciting, me? not so much!

 Apparently a storm was heading our way, information was very limited, a game of Chinese whispers went on amongst guests! Tropical Storm Sandy was on it's way to Cuba. We later found out that it turned into a "strong category 2" hurricane shortly before it made landfall in Cuba. (Landfall? I've picked up the hurricane lingo already!)
The maps above show where the path of the hurricane was due to go; where exactly were we staying? A place on the north coast called Guardalavaca - marked on this map - see Club Amigo (not where we stayed but I borrowed the photo from the internet. I am computer illiterate so don't know how to edit the photo of the hurricane path to show our resort!)

So yes we were directly in the path of the hurricane. Time to batten down the hatches and see what the evening brought. By this time I was more than a little alarmed!
I'll continue the tale on another post - this is far too long and probably not that interesting to anyone else.


  1. Welcome Back! Oh my gosh, what an ordeal! Can't wait for the next instalment. At least the trip was memorable :-D

  2. So pleased you are all back safe and sound.
    I'm sitting on the edge of my seat awaiting the next instalment...
    Rose H

  3. Oh my gosh to have your vacation during one of the worse storms the US has experienced in a few years. Can't wait for the next installment. Glad all of you made it back safely.


  4. Glad you're all home safely! I have to say I read your post with a bit of wry amusement, having had our own 'hurricane in Cuba' experience back in 2005! I wrote a post about it here if you want to have a read

  5. Oh my goodness!
    I am looking forward to the next instalment now I know you are all ok!
    Lisa x

  6. I couldn't believe it when I heard on the television that there was a hurricane in Cuba, my husband wondered why I was so concerned!
    Sarah x

  7. Cuba - how excciting. Looking forward to the next installment! jusx

    1. A little more exciting than we anticipated though!

  8. It all sounds a bit horrendous. The photos on the news were terrible. Glad your back home in one piece. I would love to visit Cuba but not when there's a Sandy about!

  9. Holy heck Lady, this has all the highs and lows and suspense of a blockbuster. Firstly my friend and I have spent years laughing about our Welcome Break breaks - the place names alone just cracks me up (yes I laugh easily) We were in huge trouble last time I took my son out for an UA. Anyway can't wait to hear more as we would love to go to Cuba in Spring Break next year. Sending this on to my husband. The beaches and pool look gorgeous, or is that just the calm before the storm?

  10. Can't wait til the next installment. But I did like it that your family wisely made the most of the sun while others were worrying indoors...

  11. Oh my goodness! I really thought this time you would surely have an event free holiday! Looking forward to hearing the outcome xx

  12. Oh no! Much looking forward to the next instalment. At least we know that you all got back in one piece!

  13. I am reading guys REALLY had an adventure. you are lucky you are safe!!!