Sunday January 18, 2015 to Thursday January 22, 2015
We spent Sunday as a relaxing day. Even though I had spent most of Saturday in bed due to a migraine. We still relaxed on Sunday. I spent time writing the blog and picking pictures. Ralf has taken lots of pictures of buildings, people and general street life in Havana. He also took single pictures of all of the Buddy Bears. There was a lot to go through to pick the ones I needed for the blog.
I have included a lot of photos in this last blog of Cuba and Havana.
I have included a couple of galleries of faces and street life. Both of us love watching people and Ralf is getting good at taking candid photos of people. Sometimes he asks for permission and other times he sneaks a photo.
The street life in Havana is varied and busy.
I have added a gallery of photos depicting the good, bad and ugly side of Havana.
On Sunday night a group of young Argentinian guys stayed at the casa. A couple of them spoke very good English so we were able to have a good chat with them and a laugh. They had a bottle of Mexican liquor which was similar to tequila. They were very generous in sharing it – it was very strong, maybe it was the dead worm that gave it the taste!
There were four guys sharing two rooms. One room has a double bed and a single bed and the other room has a double bed. They were going to draw cards to choose who got the best bed/room. I volunteered to deal the cards. The first person dealt a King could choose which room or bed he slept in, the second person dealt a King would have the second choice, it was a no-brainer to realize the remaining two guys would be sleeping together in the remaining double bed. I shuffled the cards and it was a coincidence but we got to the last ten cards before a King was dealt. The cheering that ensued when the first King was dealt was hilarious. The guy on the far right choose the double bed in the separate room, with the other three guys sharing the other room. The guy next to Ralf had the single bed.
The next day they rented bikes and cycled around the city. We were walking through Centro Havana when they showed up on the rented bikes.
The highlight of Monday was visiting the Bacardi building. It was built in 1936 to house the headquarters of the Bacardi Rum Company. The building still has the Bat symbol on the very top. As Ralf was taking photos of the outside I walked up to the main entrance to see inside. The security guy invited me in and told me we could go to the top for 1 CUC per person. We paid our 2 CUCs and took the lift to the 7th floor and then walked up the stairs and the spiral staircase to the viewing platform. What a great view of the city. We could see out to the ocean and the density of the old city. We could see the skyline of New Havana and the fort to the west. I did notice that apart from the forts you could not see a lot of greenery. Unlike other city’s high points there were no pretty terracotta roofs, just dull grey buildings covered in black mold and decaying concrete.
Tuesday we took the open top bus for a tour of Havana. The tour took 1 hour and 45 minutes and at the Rum Museum you got a free Mojito. I am sure the museum was expecting you to take the tour for 7 CUC each, but we walked past the reception and straight up to the bar where they were making the mojitos. Thank you very much a great tour and a mojito for 5 CUC each.
As we were leaving the rum museum we spotted a couple of Dutch people who were about to embark on their cycling tour of Cuba. Heading for Vinales and then back to Havana and then taking the bus to Trinidad and cycling back to Havana. We told them cycling from Trinidad to Havana was the best way because of the tail winds. They had a really neat kick-stand for the front wheel.
We continued our relaxing day by visiting some of the art galleries. We chatted to a gallery owner about the Mona Lisa painting and married life. He has been married for 58 years and said they were like one tree with roots that go very deep together. He almost made Ralf and I cry, when he said he hopes that he dies first as he couldn’t imagine life without his wife. She was his life, his light and his strength. He showed us a photo of them together.
Maria invited us to have dinner with her and her family. Adriana (the daughter-in-law to be) cooked the dinner and we had a lovely evening with them. It was primarily to thank Ralf for his work as the “National Geographic” photographer!
For the most part we have enjoyed cycling Cuba. Ralf and I have been talking about our experiences and are