Friday, May 22, 2015

Four days in Havana

Last winter, when it was cold and miserable, my friend and I started talking about going somewhere hot, where we would have no troubles or cares, and be warm! As negotiations continued, it turned out that neither of us really wanted to just be warm, and we wanted a holiday that would be more interesting than an all-inclusive at the beach. So, heck, let's go to Havana, Cuba!

Then assorted husbands went on assorted trips (Did I tell you about Stephen going to Japan for two and a half weeks in April, right into the middle of the film festival?) and various school things happened, and finally, we booked 4 days and 5 nights away.

Yeah, and I took over 300 pictures... They are mainly of buildings! I will try to give you a chronological whizz through our trip.

This was taken from the hotel room on the first morning. The sun is coming in from the sea; the railing there is around the hotel pool. Already overwhelmed with the colours!

We set out to walk to the old town. I think the fence is up because people are renovating, but it might just have been a fence. The detail of the carving along the top is lovely, but the green of the fence is lovely, too, so you get the whole thing and not a close-up. 

This is a completely odd place. There are something over 100 flagpoles, and a big plaza with revolutionary slogans on the walls, all facing the United States Interest Section, the old American embassy. Apparently they used to hold rallies here, especially during the Elián Gonzáles case; it is called the José Martí Anti-Imperialist Platform. I'd love to see it with flags flying. 

We continued our walk down the Malecón. You can see the buildings were once grand, and are now, bit by bit, being restored. Will Starbucks buy one and beautify it? 

I had heard about this seawall-road, and imagined it all wrong! It is a wide sidewalk beside the sea, indeed, but we had to dash across 6 or 8 lanes of traffic to get to it. The view is wonderful and the people watching lots of fun, but it is not a nature-lover's seawall. 

The view westward. The pale, low building with two towers on the right is the Nacional Hotel. The old stone foundations holding pools of scungy water just below the walkway... I can't tell you anything about that! 

Please note, no swimming or fishing. We saw loads of both, though. 

A cute pink Fiat 650. Oh, my, the cars might need their own day here. 

The cars I don't have any pictures of are the several Mercedes sedans that whooshed by us down the Malecón that first day. First a couple of motorbikes came along, sending everyone to the side of the road, then a police car or two and 5 or 6 big black Mercedes, carrying who knows whom? That was the one and only time we saw anything like that.

I can't show you everything in the old town at once, but I'll cover the Cathedral

Voilà, the cathedral. 

Very boring floors, I am sorry to say. Cuba did not have access to a lot of great stone in the 18th century and most of the walls are made of limestone and coral-bearing stone. Nice enough, but wears a lot faster than marble or granite! 

Three little stained glass windows. You can see a palm branch in the middle one. I really liked these simple geometric colourful tidbits. 

Of course we went up the tower. This is the roof of the church. 

Very rickety stairs up, big bells to dodge (not that they were ringing, but they were very large and the tower was made to fit them and not them plus tourists); not for the faint of heart. 

We wandered about town a bit more and found this, which we titled Riding the Chicken to Prosperity. You must click to enlarge. Look at her shoes, if you can. What is going on here? 

This is my friend admiring a doorway. Some things are all fixed up, but look at the sidewalk in front of her. I think it will be a while before Havana is overrun by American tourists. 

I'll end for today with a spot of colour again. We found this little boutique hotel, which I don't know the name of, and we had a drink in its courtyard. All yellow and blue, huge open skylight, plants, all very refreshing.

This is going to take some time. You've seen about half of one day. Yikes.

1 comment:

  1. beautiful photos!
    i would love to visit havana... but for now your photos will suffice!


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