In the Havana of the revolution, american credit cards are not accepted, american soft drinks are replaced by cuban brands, we avoid to talk about USA, Canada and England are revered and Che Guevara t-shirts are proudly worn all over the country.
In post 1959 Havana, all that subsists from earlier years are these old american cars converted into taxis, districts in ruins when you leave the comfort of the superb and colonial old Havana, a chinese district which isn’t one anymore and a wind of freedom muffled by random acts of “interested” kindness and all those Che Guevara pictures found at each corner.
Yet, I am very fond of Havana.
For it’s history and it’s revolution.
Fot it’s superb beaches within a 15 minutes bus ride.
For it’s real mojitos.
For it’s music, it’s dances and it’s festive mood.
Also, for it’s Museo de la Revolucion that retraces all the steps and fights of cuban revolutionaries leading to the famous Cuban Revolution.
For it’s Plaza de la Revolution, in the Vedado district, where were held - and are still held - huge manifestations and marches including the 26th of July one… And mainly, for this gigantic portait of Che on the Interior Ministry’s bulding facade.
The best way to get to the Vedado is to stroll down the Malecon, this charming and almost infinite sidewalk that run parrarel to the sea and on which the huge Golf of Mexico waves come crashing. Hand in hand, we walk there or we just hop on a taxi-bike to get closer to the pastel walls of appartment buldings and big hotels. We then leave the old Havana for this forest covered hill now a trendy district with impressive houses.
Only by following Calle 23, the district’s main street, can you get the real vibe of this area. We walk through small traditionnal markets, cuban food booths, many terraces, outdoor meat, fruits and vegetable markets, to finally get to the famous Parque Coppelia where eating ice cream is what it’s all about. The huge vender ( a gigantic and very weird cylindric bulding ) is packed all day long with ice cream lovers who know quite well that this is where many scenes from the movie Frese et Chocolate were shot.
Havana’s university ( La Universisad de La Habana ), is also really worth a look with it’s superb neo-classic architecture. It’s impressive 163 steps staircase, La Escalita, and the Plaza Ignacio Agramonte located behind the main bulding, at the heart of the campus, are simply splendid. The campus is also home to two museums : the Museo Antropologico and the Museo Napoleonico
Following Hemingway’s footsteps
The very popular american writer Ernest Hemingway is also a part of the cuban and havanan heritage. Traces of his passage and his love for Cuba are visible all across the capital and it is very easy to follow his footsteps through this dear Havana of his.
You have to visit first his favorite room ( number 511 ), still the way it was with his manuscripts, his photographs and his typewriter at the hotel Ambos Mundos, and then try HIS mojito while having dinner at the very musical Bodeguita del Medio restaurant.
You can then get out of the city and get a boat ride at the Hemingway Marina or simply stroll down the Malecon with one of his books in hand ( previoulsly bought in one of the many book stands in the Plaza de Armas, in the language of your choice ! )
In the afternoon, it’s at the Floridita that you have to go to drink the best Daiquiri in Havana ( it’s also there that this drink was first served ! ) Including Hemingway’s favorite the papa especial. In one of the establisment’s corner, a bronze statue of the famous writer proudly stands, smiling and leaning on the bar, giving hundreds of tourists the satisfaction of saying that they once had a drink with the famous author.
Then, east of Havana, in the port city of Cojimar where his famous boat El Pilar was often moored, you have to eat at La Terraza, one of Hemingway’s favorite restaurants where, until very recently, you had the chance of running into Gregorio Fuentes, the departed Captain of The old man and the sea.
For a glimpse of this warm Havana : http://glober.tv/fr_CA/videos/globers/dreaming-in-cuban/291/
Blogger : Sarah-Emilie Nault
In the Havana of the revolution, american credit cards are not accepted, american soft drinks are replaced by cuban brands, we avoid to talk about USA, Canada and England are revered and Che Guevara t-shirts are proudly worn all over the (...)