Cuba: Part 2

Of course how could one go to Cuba without seeing monuments and tributes to Che Guevarra, the famous liberator of the country. Whether his liberation was a good or bad thing is open to interpretation. This mural was on the side of a hotel in the Revolutionary Plaza, not one we stayed at though. Castro used to give hour long lectures in this plaza. Interesting note on Castro, he did not like this image used on building and murals and while you would see his picture often you would not see monuments to him. I would have been curious to hear what the locals opinion of him was. I assume mostly positive, but I suppose it depends on who I’d ask.

At one point in our journey my belt broke so Mike and I took to the streets of Cienfuego to find a new one. We found a friendly old man at a vendor booth who sold me a lovely leather belt, for $4… I think we should have take advantage of the economy and done a little more shopping.

This gorgeous Cathedral and plaza was located next to one of our hotels (back left). It’s a classic example of Spanish colonial style architecture. The cobble stone is made of a soft coral stone that is beginning to erode after nearly 400 years of use. The interior was beautiful but we really only got to stand in the doorway as it cost extra money to tour the whole thing. During the Communist rule the Catholics were allowed to practice, but to a very limited extent.

We had an opportunity to eat on the top level of the hotel that overlooked the back of the church. It was beautiful and I wish we had got a picture from that perspective. But we did mange to get a picture of an alley way in the old town district of Havana.

Speaking of beautiful design, many of the statues of Angles and other figures around town were exquisite. These were in the cemetery in Havana and I took a moment to stand in awe and admiration at them.

Another magnificent structure in the cemetery.

This massive fort was right across from one of the hotels we stayed at in Havana at the harbor entrance. It was fortified as with most major cities in case of an attack.

After the embargo placed on Cuba in the 1950’s no new cars were imported. They had to maintain what they had, which included fabricating their own replacement parts. These cars were in exceptional condition and found only with in the towns or cities, once you started leaving the urban area more donkey and carts appeared.

The Nacional Hotel of Havana was built in the 1930’s and is the largest and nicest hotel in Cuba. We stayed on the 4th floor and overlooked the plaza where we could people watch and see performances in the plaza.

A beautiful luxury hotel, the lobby was marvelous and large. Food could be eaten inside or out and if it’s raining you eat in.

There was a dance performance near the hotel that we got to see. A nice experience of of local art, both music and dance.

I made an appearance in this picture from a museum we visited and especially enjoyed the picture of the old man farmer who I liked so much that I brought a original picture home. He was a good representation of the common man found among the country. We really enjoyed the trip and hope that in time more of the country will open up and the tourist and explore further.

(People told us that there was no tipping allowed but you know how that goes when you have good people doing wondrous things.)

We got many of these pictures from a fellow tour group member and artist, Mike. This is a link to his video slide show of pictures accompanied by music.

About carolinebotwin

Caroline Botwin and her husband Mike are retired educators who have always had a yen for travelling: he with a PH.D and teaching Architectural Engineering plus California wine education, and she having taught high school English, speech and drama. Both wanted to learn first hand about other cultures. While Mike predominately studied buildings and structures and met with winemakers, Caroline hunted for ancient sites and peoples. And kept journals of all their travels. Kevin Klimczak, extraordinaire, is the website designer and editor of the blogs.
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