Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Havana

We spent the past week in Varadero, Cuba.  We have had the opportunity to visit Cuba several times, but have generally vacationed on the Caribbean side of the island.  This time, we tried the more populous Varadero resort area.  The beaches are beautiful.

 The city of Havana is approximately 2 hours west of Varadero.  Havana is designated as a UNESCO world heritage site and one of the oldest cities in the Americas and is undergoing a restoration.  The city reminded me of  Cartagena, Colombia another walled coastal city.  We booked a day trip through our hotel. I believe it would be preferable to spend a few days in Havana in order to properly explore and see the museums, but we did not have the luxury of time on this time so our focus was a walking tour of old Havana.


About 15 years ago, I purchased a copy of Patricia Schultz's "1000 Places to see before you Die", I wouldn't consider the guide my authoritative road map, but I do check off the places I have been and those I hope to visit.  I have always enjoyed the literary wanderlust destinations.  She has included "Hemingway's Hangouts" in her list. We popped into the Floridita, one of Hemingway's favourite spots. There is a bronze statue of Ernest by the bar (next to a framed photo of  Fidel and Hemingway).  About 20 years ago, I had the chance to visit Hemingway's home in Key West, Florida - about 90 miles away.  I would have loved to explore more of Hemingway's Cuba, but time did not permit.  PBS has also aired a number of specials about his connections to Cuba.
Vintage cars can be seen throughout Cuba and are especially plentiful in Havana.   Imports of American vehicles ceased in about 1960.  Our guide advised that Cuban machinists have acquired expertise to improvise the parts for these vehicles and to keep them running. 



I have posted from our vacation in my flickr album should you care to peek. Thanks for stopping by!

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