Sunday, February 8, 2015

Cuba From the Inside Out - Part 2 - Havana

We had heard that Havana, the capital city with a population of 3 million was a must on any trip to Cuba. Truer words were never spoken. What an amazing experience. The history and the architecture were fantastic. Even the bus trip enroute was interesting as we learned much about the small towns, agriculture, education, industry and people.

Our first baño stop included an all important pina colada taste testing. We were told it was the best and made from real pineapples and coconuts not just bar mix. Yes, it was good. By the way, should you wish to see toilet paper in public rest rooms in Cuba...bring mucho dinero in change for tips.

After we crossed through a tunnel under the Havana Harbor we passed the  bronzed sculpture of  Cuban patriot Máximo Gómez who had fled his birthplace, the Dominican Republic, during earlier battles with the Spanish. 

Downtown, there were many exquisite buildings, sculptures and of course, old cars. Apparently all the lovely memorable 50's Chevys are now sporting Asian parts and engines. Nonetheless, an unforgettable sight.              
On the left is the National Capitol building currently undergoing renovations.

The famed Revolution Square measures 72,000 square metres. We were told that Fidel Castro addressed more than a million Cubans here and spoke for over 10 hours.

The José Marti  Memorial is a huge monument which towers over the square. Marti was a Cuban national hero, political activist, intellectual and author. He dedicated his short life to political independence for Cuba. After his death, one of his poems was adapted to the well known song, Guantanamera, considered a patriotic song of Cuba.  

We went to the Fort El Morro with a gorgeous view of old and new Havana. The fort is a landmak and guards the entrance to Havana Bay. There were many very relaxed dogs lying around wherever we went.

Our lunch was served as Los Doce Apostoles, a charming restaurant on the grounds. We were serenaded with music as we ate a most delicious noodle salad, a meal of chicken, fish, rice and plantain with two drinks and ice cream for dessert. Best meal of the entire week!

After lunch we travelled to San Francisco square and the basilica. The square is currently home to the United Buddy Bears, a display to promote living together in peace and harmony. There are bears to represent all countries recognized by the United nations. Here's a great link to see all the bears, their countries, designs and artist names more closely. (Copy and paste...I don't know how to make it just open)

Of course, no tour of Havana would be complete without seeing some of Ernest Hemingway's old haunts and new friends.

From historical murals, to famed architecture and unusual mailboxes, all things Havana were worth seeing and experiencing.

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