Thursday, August 18, 2005

Arrival in Havana

After a long night with only 4 hours of sleep we decided to take it easy on our first day in Havana. We’re staying at the Hotel Nacional de Cubain the Vedado district. We got up around lunchtime, wandered round the hotel for a while, had a burger in one of the restaurants in the hotel then went out for a walk in the surrounding area. It was absolutely scorching hot outside, so walking around was a bit uncomfortable.

We walked round the lovely hotel gardens, along El Malecon (a 4 and a half mile seaside walkway in front of our hotel) and around the surrounding area. I spent some time taking photos and trying make sure that I managed to get a classic car or two in the shot. You can see a photo of the view to the old (Colonial) centre of Havana from the Malecon below. The dome that you can see in the distance is the Capitolio – a building modelled after the Capitol building in Washington DC.

Malecon, Havana

After a bit of walking we came across the famous Coppelia’s Ice Cream place. Outside Coppelia’s there was a huge queue of Cubans waiting in line (often for over an hour) to buy some ice cream for a few pesos a scoop. We had no idea what was going on or that this was actually an ice cream place, so just walked right in, only to be stopped by security guards who told us that we’d either have to join the queue or go to the tourist area where there was no queue (selling ice cream at ten times the price). I don’t think we would have been capable of standing an hour in the hot sunshine (and in my opinion no ice-cream is worth an hour long wait!) so we decided not do it the Cuban way, and opted for the tourist area instead. The ice cream was nice, but not the nicest I’ve ever had!

View from Hotel Nacional Havana

After our aimless wandering we decided to book a Havana city tour for the next day. Since we’re only here for another two full days we figured that it would be good to spend a morning being shown the sights and told about the history of Havana. We booked a four hour part bus/part walking tour at one of the tour operators in our hotel. Now that I’m writing this a couple of months later, I can’t remember the cost of the tour was but I do remember it being a pretty reasonable price.


Blogger Jeff said...

"Oh..I have no words!” because it is impossible to describe in our usual words such exotic city and brilliant-out scenes every building, every stone, all has something romantic here.We really enjoyed our honey moon in havana and we cannot forget those musical nights that we spend in Renaissance hotel.i remember those wines and Habanos Habanos that really makes our honey moon unforgetable...
so enjoy the life in havana..

1:31 PM  

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