Sunday, March 5, 2017

Cuba - Day 1 - Havana

Day 1 - Our flight departed Ft. Lauderdale at 12:40 and we landed less than an hour later and Jose Marti International Airport.  We were greeted by our tour company host and our Havana guide.

We were transported to our guest house one block from the Museum of the Revolution.  The house was a three floor walk up in a traditional city building. Each floor is an apartment, or more than one.  We were pleasantly surprised to find an exquisitely furnished home with beautiful bedrooms and private baths.  The hostess was more than accommodating, spoke English, and the salon opened out to balconies that overlooked the square below, church and the cityscape.  It had a five star TripAdivsor rating.  Wow.

We settled in to freshen up and then hit the streets.  We walked for hours, wandering alleyways and back calle's.  The atmosphere was intoxicating.  Smells, sounds, colors, and the CARS!!!

We stopped at a local bar/cafe for a snack and some drinks.

The Plaza de Armas has a book market.  Lots of political literature.  Noone was pushy.  It was interesting.

After wandering the book market we started to look for a restaurant.  The sun was setting over the old part of the city.  It was stunning.

We happened upon an Italian restaurant on the sidewalk.  There was an all-girl Cuban band playing.  Two lobster tails, all the trimmings - $20  Dinner for four with lots of drinks, huge plates of food and side dishes...dessert...$90 for four plus a $15 tip.  This was the most expensive meal we had over the next ten days.  We learned very quickly to order light.  It was simply too much food.

The band was awesome.  Tom of course got up and danced with the lead singer.

You will find bands in almost every restaurant and bar.  The are everywhere.  The music is loud, festive, and totally Cuban...although a few American standards sneak in from time to time as well as the Mexican ones you hear in from just about any mariachi band back home.  When the finish their set they wander among the tables with a hat or basket.  Throw in a few CUC.  The smiles will overcome you!

After dinner we wandered back to our house. This and the music was what we enjoyed from our balcony above.  Magical.

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