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La Habana – Day II

The next day, we had a more opulent breakfast, knowing that it might be the only meal for the day. We took a hop on – hop off bus to get a bigger picture of the city. Among the many neighborhoods and monuments the highlight of the tour was the Plaza de la Revolucion with monuments dedicated to Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos.

We were lucky that day because we found a tiny and cute restaurant that served lobster. We secured our lunch for the day. Later we were exploring antique shops, which there are plenty of in Havana. Then I wanted to go to the Museum of Applied Arts. It was Tuesday and the museum was supposed to be open. But it was not. And I was not the only disappointed tourist. Instead we went to the Museo de la Revolucion, where again we got an education about the revolution and its heroes, Castro, Cienfuegos and Guevara along with their companions.

At the Museo de la Revolucion

After the visit at the museum we took the cycle taxi that brought us to the Plaza de la Catedral. I was smitten with Plaza Vieja already, I can’t say that the Plaza de la Catedral topped it, but it was a magic place. Unfortunately the Museo del Arte Colonial, which was just across the cathedral was closed, so we just stayed at the Plaza for a moment. We continued to the Plaza de Armas. Famous for stands that sell all kinds of antique objects, from old books, over vinyls, art to highly valuable badges.

Plaza de la Catedral

Orisha and Santería melted into Catholicism during the times of colonization and are an inherent part of Afro-Cuban culture and religion today.

“I feel like Havana has always been such an amazing, cosmopolitan city that it makes sense that a lot of galleries will want to be present.” – Rachael Price

Cuba in general is like a huge art gallery. Havana as the capital the most sophisticated of them all. It was interesting for me to see that people engaged a lot in the arts. It is quite known as well that Communism is a great patron of the arts. That is why the best professionals from all kinds of disciplines did come from communist ruled countries. Think Nureyev, Malevich and other contemporaries. In fact as we were walking through the town, we were approached by a Cuban national, who was talking to us generally about Cuba. What he underlined was, that the system succeeded completely when it comes to education and safety. But it seemed to me that not only the Cubans are very well educated, it also occurred to me that it is a widely talented nation. There were handicrafts or paintings all over town. We even stumbled upon art workshops in the middle of the day at a very busy part of the town. Yes music, is an inherent part of the culture and every day life, but it is not only the musicians who provide the entertainment, it is common people like you and I who take part in dancing and singing, painting or creating. Plaza de Armas is just a space that brings all of that creativity together, but painters, vocal artists, dancers and the common people interacting with them, one could see at every little corner of Havana. For me as someone working in the creative industry, it was highly inspirational.

“Art street” – one of many in La Habana Vieja

The day altogether was wonderful. To reward ourselves, we stopped by at a hotel, frequently visited in the past by Ernest Hemingway, only to stumble upon at a charming restaurant later, where we actually would even get dinner. My order was completely forgotten (at that point, I figured, that happens often in Cuba), but as soon as the owner of the restaurant realized it, he made amends and everybody was happy in the end.

We went back to our accommodation to pack and get ready for our next stop the morning after: Trinidad.

Until the next time. Enjoy my article and I will provide you with more stories soon.

¡Hasta luego!
xx Azra/Swedish Avenue

Swedish Avenue February 2, 2017