|Much to the distress of our GPS, we entered Havana from the northwest corner along Avenida STA which became ST 5. It was so simple....and straight. In no time at all we were on the Malecon. We found a Casa Particulaire for 30 CUC'S. The hotels are now all over 100 CUC'S sice the prices went up Jan. 1st.
The casa is on the 2nd floor of an old colonial house that has been devided into apartments. Rocking chairs line the hallway. A huge old armoire sits along one wall of our room. A small desk and a queen-size bed sit along another. Huge double doors open on to a small balcony. And we have a bathroom to ourselves.
We dined at Idioli's....a tourist restaurant with excellent food after a drive through 'the old town'.
Beneath sunny skies the next day we drove to Habana Vieja and parked. We explored the Castilla de la Real Fuerza...now a museum. Interesting especially as it radiates from a central room. Also it has many artifacts from Cristobel Colum(bus) time. There is priate treasures, replicas of Columbus's ships, Spanish galleons etc., and jewellery. Of particular interest were emeralds, a ruby ring and long gold chains.
From here the Plaza de Armas with book sellers and touts was crossed to the Palacio de los Capitanes Generales. This was filled with portraits, religious paintings and also a ballroom, formal reception room and a dining room furnished as in the 16th century. Next we walked through narrow streets to Plaza de Catedral. We sat in a sidewalk cafe people-watching while we ate lunch A huge stone catedral with mismatched towers adorns online side. Cubans dressed in period costumes catch unwary tourists for photos and dinaro.
From here we walked back San Ignacio cutting across Obispo to Oficios to wander down to Plaza de San Francisco. After exploring this square it was on to the Museo del Ron Havana Club and a tour. After sampling the aged 7 year rum wwe went back to a cambio just off Plaza de San Francisco. 45 minutes later with dinaro in haznd we next strolled Mercaderes to Plaza Vieje. This is by far the most delightful plaza with its sidewalk cafes, freshly painted old colonial buildings and entertainers. Here we saw the dancers on stilts...quite a feat, we think. All too soon it was time to retrieve our car.
We drove back along the Malecon. Waves splashed over the seawall with the stormy seas. We explored further into town driving past Parque Central and back Avenida 31. After drinks at El Presidente, we wandered to the Malecon, saw a spectacular red sunset as the deep red sun dripped into the sea.. we found a little sidewalk cafe and had dinnner. By 9p we were asleep.
Yesterday we caught the hop on hop off bus for a tour of town. At Parque Central we got off. We went to both Belles Artes Museos. We had lunch at Sloppy Joes. Delicious...and busy. We had drinks and a 5p sandwich and caught the hop on hop off bus back to El Presidente. With tickets for the National Parisienne Cabaret, we had a quick dinner, caught a cab and with seats touching the stage, enjoyed the spectacular, colorful show....so much energy! At midnight, we caught a cab home.
Today we are off on another adventure.