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Trip Report Cuba - Old Havana Travel Report

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After a 20-minute taxi ride from the airport, I settled down at the hotel and the room was not so bad... The next day in the morning I was supposed to meet the tour guide at the Hotel Telegrafo...
The mission for the morning is to visit the four plazas in the Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that contains the core of the original city... Apart from the heritage spots within the area, Havana is also filled with stories and antidotes about the legendary American novelist Ernest Hemingway....

"My mojito in La Bodeguita, my daiquiri in El Floridita.” – Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway was a frequent customer of both El Floridita and La Bodeguita, and El Floridita was the first place we saw entering the street...

*Plaza de la Cathedral*

The Plaza takes the name from the landmark – Havana Cathedral, or the “Catedral de San Cristóbal” in the centre of the old town. The church was built in Baroque style and the façade of the cathedral has a unique asymmetrical feature – the two bell towers are not in the same size, apparently the right tower is obviously bigger and taller than the left one. Another interesting thing in the square was a life-size brass statue leaning against one of the many pillars on the Palacio del Conde Lombillo on the right side of the square – it was Antonio Gades, a famous flamenco dancer from Spain! (Check out the photos: http://wp.me/p5Lw9a-Nz

*Plaza de Armas*

The Plaza de Armas was at the riverfront... it has an interesting market that I would definitely be returning to by the end of the day. Besides, restaurants and cafés were on all sides of the square and it has been a social hub in the city for more than five centuries. Outside the Palacio de Los Capitanes a walkway was paved by wood instead of stone because it was once used for horses, the Castillo de la Real Fuerza is another landmark of the area. It is an eye-catching, star-shaped colonial fort built in the mid-16th century.

*Plaza de san Francisco*

To me, the Plaza de San Francisco looks more “modern” because the buildings around the square were carefully restored with one side opened to the riverfront, and so the sunlight came in the square and the shine on the well-paved cobbled stone floor. The Basilica Menor de San Francisco de Asis (and so that’s how the square was named) features a tower that offers breath-taking views of the city of Havana and the sea beyond.... Besides, there were some ladies dressed up in native costumes, playing some traditional instruments and handing out flowers. Beware not to take photos of them without asking as they might approach and ask you for money.

*Plaza Vieja*

“Vieja” in Spanish means “old”, but the plaza did not look old, better yet it was very much lively with Cuban Baroque and Art Nouveau architecture next to each other, surrounding the area, with outdoor cafés and shops filling up the open space. In the old times the plaza was originally used for military exercises; today the plaza is an open-air marketplace and an exercise yard for students from the nearby Angela Landa primary school!

After that, we were headed out to a local “Tripadvisor” recommended rooftop restaurant for lunch and the vintage car ride into the modern part of Havana – stay tuned :).
Check out knycx_journeying blog for photos and a detailed trip report: http://wp.me/p5Lw9a-Nz

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