Dec 23, 2015

La Havane (2/2)

#Day 19 Early departure to Baracoa airport. The taxi driver makes a detour to the *obelisco José Martí*, which is situated where he arrived from the Dominican Republic to fight against Spain. Obelisco de Duaba Then, there is a long wait at the airport. The plane to Havana was expected to leave at 9.45 but will only do so at 11 am. Aeropuerto de Baracoa Aeropuerto de Baracoa The flight goes North-Northwest following the coast. It goes over Cienfugeos and the view over the bay is very nice! It is less cold in the plane than in the bus. In Havana, a walk to the city to do some bars: one on the Malecón and the *Bodegita del Medio*, which wasn't so nice. There is a lot of hype around the Bodegita bar. It is supposed to have the best mojitos in town but they are only average. Habana Habana Habana Habana Habana Habana In the evening, a nice restaurant mostly filled with Cubans. Good food for a low price! #Day 20 The day starts by following Gervasio towards the Vedado. There, the Focsa building is the host of the Emperor bar, which has a view. Unfortunately, there is no room upstairs. Habana Habana Habana Habana Continuing to the Malecón, there is the American embassy. There are 136 flag poles in front of the embassy, which stand for the number of years Cuba has been independent. Then, there is a statue of Macéo, and one of Martí, pointing at the embassy from 500 m away, saying that Cuba will always be free. Habana Habana Habana Habana From there, a long walk (5 km!) towards the Orthodox Church. Ice cream and mojito at the coffee nearby. Museums are closed on Mondays. More walking around in the old Havana. The Granma is inside the *Revolution Museum*, but it can be seen from the outside. From the Malecón, cab ride to the Castillo which is on the other side of the channel. It is not possible to cross it by food or bicitaxi. There are a few things to see, the Castillo, another fortress, the museum of the Missile Crisis, the house of the Che and the white Christ of Havana. It is an easy walk but the cabs try to extend the ride to include a tour of all that. Habana Habana Habana Habana Habana Habana Habana Habana A very nice red Chevrolet makes the ride back to the casa. #Day 21 Late departure to the Central Park. On the park, it is possible to take an *hop on hop off* bus for only 5 CUC which goes to the end of Havana. However, there are only two interesting things on the way: *plaza de la Revolucion* with the monument to Martí and the Necropolis de Colón. Habana The plaza is not that interesting in the end. It looks like an oversized parking lot. The monument has a statue of Martí and a tower. From the monument (it is not possible to get into the tower), it is possible to see the palace of the government, which is highly recognizable by its large building and its *area prohibido* signs. Habana Habana The Necropolis de Colón is more interesting. It is 5 CUC to enter if you do not have family there. There is even a barrack called *oficio de turismo*! Most of the tombs are made of white marble and bear statues. However, after walking a few *quadras*, it looks like statues are part of a catalog where they can be picked. Habana Habana Habana Back to the Habana Vieja, finding the museum of the city is hard. The building itself is nice and was the previous palace of the Spanish Captains. The museum itself is interesting for the furnished rooms. Sadly, you need a guide to visit but it can be seen from the doorstep with the normal ticket. Habana Habana Habana Back to the casa early. It feels like the end of the trip. Lots of walking in the recent days and the crowd of the city makes Havana exhausting to visit. Luggage are packed! One last day tomorrow to spend the remaining CUC. #Day 22 Last day in Cuba! I dropped the luggage at Martha’s before heading to the city. I passed by Floridita (skipped), the home to the Daiquiri, before going to Obispo street to look for postcards. Habana Habana Habana I went to the museum of the *bellas arte* for Cuban art, which is apparently one of the most interesting museums to see in Havana with the museum of the city. It is nice and has lots of modern art. There was also an exhibition on a photographer who covered historical events. One ice cream on the Malecón nearby the Orthodox Church before walking back to Gervasio. Habana Habana Habana Surprisingly, during these last days in Havana, I had less requests in the streets. That's very nice. Maybe I got used to decline even before the question gets asked? Or maybe I a tanned enough to look local? Back at Martha's to wait for the taxi who's coming at 5 pm to drive me to the airport. At the checkin I learn that you cannot be upgraded twice. Mmmm. At the control, there is a problem with the system and I have to wait 10 minutes. In the end, it still doesn't work but upon saying I had no issue on arrival, they stamp it and let me go through. With tickets bought recently, there is no need to pay the tax at the airport as it is now included in the ticket. Hence 25 CUC remaining. One bottle of rum and two cigars at the 'duty free'. Quotes are mandatory since goods do not have taxes in Cuba.