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Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Havana, Cuba

Mar 3, 2017 - making comparisons

To our guide Havana is a big city. And indeed compared to the rest of her country it is. But 20% of the only 12 million Cuban people live here, a city that is significant, but not overwhelming. Marialina keeps warning us about crowds and bad traffic, but compared to London, Paris, New York, there's no comparison. There are few traffic lights and our bus driver zips through intersections with impunity. He's not a risky driver; he knows that there is never anyone coming the other way. We had a great lecture from a musician who taught us 500...

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Feb 2, 2017 - Vinales to Havana

We woke the next morning to clouds which turned to sunny breaks as we drove norte on the paved 241. The road turned to connecting potholes as we drove along CN. It was a little better through Santa Lucia. The toll for the causeway had been removed and potholes were starting to appear. Mangrove swamps bordered the road as we approached. Once across the causeway beautiful sandy beaches appeared. We stopped at one walking through the short expanse of bush. Nary a soul was there! At the end of the road was a restaurant, changerooms, the so...

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Val's Cuba

Feb 2, 2017 - Havana

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...

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Val's Cuba

Dec 13, 2016 - La Havane

Jour 4 : La Havane Une belle journée de marche typique du centre névralgique d’une grande métropole. Nous avons passé la journée à sillonner le centre de La Havane, surtout la vieille section et les artères principales du centre de la ville. Les efforts de restauration majeure de la dernière décennie font leurs effets. Certains des plus beaux édifices redécouvrent leurs splendeurs et nous permettent d’imaginer l’ensemble totale avec ceux qui feront partie d’une prochaine vague. La Havane pré-1959 devait être d’une richesse...

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RouleCuba2016

Nov 11, 2016 - Our man in Havana, ok, our man and woman in Havana

First impressions The starting point is always based on either preconception or hyped expectation, and in the case of Havana it was the former: a teeming steaming third world city crumbling from lack of investment, minimal traffic mainly comprising 1950 chevvies in garish technicolor belching out clouds of exhuast fumes, and loud street music round every corner. So, half right then. But the charm of the many often tree-lined squares surrounded with colonial stone buildings and churches, the grid of narrow streets shaded by tall tenement...

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Jul 20, 2016 - Culture and History Today

We started the day with a tour of old Havana with Spanish forts and cobblestone streets. Next on the schedule was a visit to the Compas Dance & Music Company, founded in 2004, trains locals to dance and play instruments. The music and dance is a combination of African, Cuban and Spanish influences. The Mafia was very active in Havana from the times of Prohibition in the U.S. until the overthrow of the Batista government in 1959. Much of the activity was centered around the Hotel Nacional (a World Heritage Site) and controlled by Meyer...

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Cuba Adventure 2016

Apr 29, 2016 - Electricity back to the neighborhood

Electricity Finally Back in My Neighborhood Last night the electricity returned to my neighborhood after 10 days without. What a wonderful evening. Many neighborhoods still lack electricity. Still no new water to the town; we're living from reserves and what tank trucks bring along with bottled water and water from a solar powered treatment plant brought in by the army. My rotary club has been receiving donations of food, water, cushions, tents, etc. We have distributed these to needy families. Thank you so much from those of you and the...

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Going Down the Road

Apr 22, 2016 - April 21, 2016 Earthquake

APRIL 21 EARTHQUAKE To all my family and many many friends. I am okay. It was a really strong quake and destroyed many homes and condo towers. Several will be condemned. People are living in the streets, parks , schools, churches. Many still require some shade or tent. Fortunately it hasn't rained, yet. Emergency shelters such as tents are needed al along the north coast. Rotary is partnering with the Shelter Box program to send emergency containers. I am working with Rotarians and friends to help how we can. Help is now arriving...

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Going Down the Road

Mar 6, 2016 - Last of Cuba Trip

This is my last message about my trip across Cuba and back. It is the longest. I made it back to Havana on Friday and continued west to the valley around the town of Viñales, the center of Cuba's world renown tobacco production. It is also surrounded by the most unusual mogotes, or limestone cliffs, and pine tree forests. The town is going through the changes from a quiet collection of wooden houses around the great fields of verdant tobacco plants to the creation of casa particulares, or bed and breakfast establishments. Recent changes in...

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Going Down the Road

Mar 2, 2016 - Santiaga de Cuba

After leaving Camaguey and spending a couple of nights in Bayamo, the provincial capital where each of Cuba's two revolutions started, I met my goal and arrived in Santiago, Cuban's second largest city and some say the most Caribbean. It is warmer and greener in compared to Havana in the northwest. Another UNESCO World Heritage site like Havana, it has many old, huge, colonial buildings and neighborhoods of lesser apartments and houses. See some photos above. I met a guy Peter, my age from the UK and we decided to travel together for the...

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Going Down the Road

Feb 26, 2016 - Cuba Update

My last morning in Trinidad I saw my first Edsel. Later on the bus for Santa Clara, the third largest city and ground zero as far memorialize get the legacy of Ernesto Che Guevara. The route crossed the island through farms with lots of sugar cane and other crops. Also several railroad lines serving cane harvesting. Eventually, we reached the central highway which spans most of the length of the island. It's two lanes each way, divided by a median with on and off ramps similar to the American interstate. I can only wonder how Cuba, that is...

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Going Down the Road

Feb 22, 2016 - Cuba, Part2

So far I have conversed with many Cubans who express hope and excitement about the pending visit of President Obama. While some of the older people doubt that anything will change in Cuba as a result, younger, post revolution individuals who have no personal experience with former repressive Batista regime, and also have relatives who have traveled and lived in other countries, exude beliefs that there will be great change for the good. Cubans love ice cream. A national chain called Copelia is very popular. It is owned by the government....

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Going Down the Road

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