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Paul & Luiza´s World Tour

Cuba – Havana, Vedado & Havana Vieja – Havana good time!

CUBA | Friday, 2 May 2014 | Views [1056] | Comments [1]

Habana Vieja - La Bodeguita del Medio

Habana Vieja - La Bodeguita del Medio

Of course I have to tell you that our flight was over two hours late, we take more time waiting than actually flying. When we get to immigration in Cuba, the lines are huge, and while you are waiting you are harassed by officers asking to see your passport and asking you some unexpected questions. Well, personally, we were not harassed but most people waiting in line were. They are also famous for asking people all sorts of questions but for some great reason, we just get stamped and get through eventually. Pedro, a taxi driver, has been sent from our home stay to pick us up from the airport. Pedro is nice and helpful and for some reason, his wife is riding in the taxi with him. We arrive at Dona Clara Home Stay and are welcomed by Dona Clara and her son Esteban. They are very nice and friendly and tell us all about what to see in the city and give us information about safety in general.  Dona Clara tells us with a big smile how nice our room is as we have a private bathroom and “running hot water all day”, so cute! The 3 bedroom apartment reminds me of the ones in Brazil in the 60’s and 70’s, nostalgic? Yes, Good idea? Not so sure! There is no wi-fi in the place but we sort of expected it, will have to make it 3 days without internet. Even people staying at the big hotels tell us they pay the equivalent of USD10 per hour for very slow internet on the island. The room is well kept but dark and basic but the location is good, just a couple of blocks from the Malecon and walking distance to all the places we want to see, that will do for a few days. We talk with our hosts and then go out to eat at one of the places we’ve been reading about, it is called Havana Mediterraneo and it is walking distance from our place. We walk there, admiring the fantastic architecture along the way, and the restaurant is very nice and funky. We order a grilled seafood platter for two, a salad and two Mojitos and the food is absolutely fantastic. We eat better than we’ve been since arriving in Mexico. Two lobster tails, 2 whole medium octopus, prawns and fish fillet for just 23 dollars, so good, gracias muchachos! We wash down our meals with a couple of Buccanero beers, very nice indeed. Ok, time to go back home and rest as we are planning some serious sightseeing tomorrow.

We wake up and hit the ground running, we walked from 10 AM to 6.30PM and our verdict is, Havana is absolutely amazing, and man, it is HOT! We walk along the Malecon (a very long avenue along the oceanfront) all the way down to the Castillo de La Real Fuerza and then up and down the beautiful Prado walkway to the Capitolio Building stopping to look at some of the amazing traditional hotels along the way. The Hotel Inglaterra, The Hotel Nacional and so many others bars and hotels with great bars open to the public. We visit the Cathedral and have an amazing lunch at the Dona Eutemia restaurant where we have a nice chat with a Brazilian couple. Then, of course, it is time for Mojitos and a couple more Buccanero beers at La Bodeguita Del Medio, arguably one of the world’s best bars, you really can’t miss La Bodeguita. We also have another fun chat with an English couple. We see the museum of the Revolution, the Plaza de Armas, the Plaza Vieja, and go up to a amazing lookout where for 2 CUC (2USD) you can also see the entire city as well as see the “Camera Obscura”, absolutely fabulous.  We are mesmerized by the old American cars, circulating in mint condition, which, together with the mix of crumbling buildings together with the recently renovated ones give Havana its unique feel. It is like stepping back in time or being on a movie set (however the fumes from the old cars kind of bring you back very quickly to reality). What a great day in this great city, we now understand why everyone here is having so much fun.  Have I used the word breathtaking yet? Seriously running out of adjectives…

The next day we wake up early and make our way to the Habana Libre Hotel, the former Havana Hilton, where the revolutionary heroes stayed after they took over Havana. Then off to the Plaza de la Revolucion, to get around we walk across the University Campus and the hospital precinct. The Plaza (Revolution Square) is grand and beautiful if a bit arid but it is definitely a place to see.  We decided to walk all the way back to Habana Vieja, braving the “it's way too far to go on foot, are you crazy?” attitude of people when you stop them asking for directions. Yeah, we make it and along the way we get to see a slice of Havana life away from the tourist areas. Back in Havana Vieja we have a slice of pizza at one of the food stalls and then sit down at one of the great local bars along the Calle Obispo for some beers and a fabulous band playing local music. Another must do when you are in town. While enjoying our beer and listening to some great music, we get to share a table with a lovely Turkish couple, who seem to love Brazil as much as we love Turkey, we have a really nice time. As a storm starts gathering, we make our way back to Dona Clara and chill for a while until the day cools down a bit and after some very strong rain, we go back to the Havana Mediterraneo for dinner saying goodbye to the great food scene. Well, after 3 fantastic days, it is time to say adios to beautiful, musical, enchanting Havana, or shall we say, Hasta la Vista? So, next morning Pedro picks us up to take us back to the airport and after a short flight, we are back in Cancun, Mexico.

 

Comments

1

Thanks for producing your blog; keep it up. I will watch for your future posts. I am always on the lookout for like-minded travel stories. We too avoid mass tourism, and prefer culture, landscapes, treks and nature. We have particular interest in countries on the north side of the Med, and also along the Andes of S America. We’ve been to Peru 3 times (totalling 4 months visiting Machu Picchu and Cordillera Blanca), Istanbul, Cappadocia, Turquoise Coast of Turkey, Menorca, Ibiza, Madrid, Costa Brava of Spain. We have flights purchased for next year to SW Turkey and Sardinia.

  Geoff Nov 15, 2015 11:26 PM

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