Most people have a romantic idea of what Cuba is like: cigars, rum, old American cars, salsa, pretty women. While this image has been promoted even by Cuba´s tourism ministry, it has little to do with reality. Cubans live in a divided society, some with access to dollars and some without. While it is opening up more and more to the world, the US trade embargo is still in place and makes it hard for the country to integrate into the world economy. My trip there was somewhat different to others. I didn´t go backpacking. I went on an academic research trip and investigated Cuba´s past and present, with a focus on its political changes over the past 60 years. The country I found amazed me, in good and in bad terms, and I am glad that I had the opportunity to share some of my impressions.