Havana (and more specifically Old Havana) is an incredibly beautiful city, old and crumbling, a colonial city that has been painstakingly restored over the last 30 years. It’s like stepping back in time, with all the glorious classic 1950’s American cars (they are ENORMOUS!) and wonderful architecture.
We learned that the buildings in Old Havana were built deliberately tall and the streets were designed to be very narrow so that they would be in the shade most of the time, to provide respite from the heat.
As my friend CeeCee, who came on holiday with me said, Old Havana is packed full of Wabi-Sabi – a Japanese word for finding beauty in the derelict. It is the most perfect description of Old Havana, and as an added bonus is really fun to say (Wabisabi!).
My first glimpse of a classic car at the airport on arrival:
Night-time view from the balcony of our Casa Particular
View from my window on my first morning in Havana
Our lovely casa – it had VERY high ceilings and very 50’s decor.
Out and about, enjoying looking at all the gorgeous classic cars
El Capitolio was built as a replica of Washington DC’s Capitol building, but according to the guidebook is “marginally taller and much richer in detail”.
Cuban art is prolific, and often very weird, but this is by far my favourite – nothing says Cuba to me like a naked chick riding a rooster holding a massive fork….
(Apparently it was commissioned during the 90’s in Cuba’s “special period” to represent the lack of food, and the rise of empowered women, and/or prostitution, depending on your interpretation).
Um, Saint Michael?
At the drugstore – original 1800’s drugstore which is perfectly preserved and still functioning as a pharmacy!
At the fort – loads of cannons to keep away pirates
At the museum of playing cards, cos we’re nothing if not cultured…. My favourite were these 1980’s cards.
At the museum dedicated to the 19 firefighters (Museo de Bomberos) who lost their lives in a railway fire in the 1890.
CeeCee with an old car
The original city wall had 180 cannons mounted on it to protect the city from pirate attacks. Although the wall no longer exists, the cannons were repurposed and both cannons and cannonballs are dotted around the city as decorative bollards – it’s brilliant!
All dolled up for a trip down the esplanade
With our lovely casa owner
Really big door!
Taking a classic car (1952 baby blue Buick convertible to be specific) to cruise the strip (Malecón) at sunset, because that’s what you do in Havana
We didn’t take the pink one, but it was pretty.
Cruising the strip, feeling like rock stars.
Sunset in the pineapple shades
Daiquiri Floridita – delicious!
Giggling over a Piña Colada at dinner….
…mainly because our mariachi for the evening found out CeeCee was Australian and starting singing “Skippy! Skippy!” (the theme song from Skippy the bush kangaroo).
Statue of a famous salsa dancer
Posting some postcards into this AMAZING letterbox lion
This weird elkhorn plant grows in a ball
Love this door knocker
The Gentleman of Paris was a famous french beggar – apparently it’s lucky to touch his beard and his finger, which is why they are so shiny and a little bit thin…