June 4, 2015
Facts about La Habana
Most of us know Havana as you’ve just read it. The locals here in Cuba refer to it as La Habana.
Less than 2 kilometres travelled to new casa.
We arrived in Havana later than I thought we would. We struggled a bit to find a casa even though there are thousands. We decided on one just for one night even though we both sort of knew we wanted to be in a different area. We brought our bikes and gear in and headed in search of food as we hadn’t eaten in about 8 hours (oops). Turns out the place we found ended up being our favourite for the following four days.
Our stay in Havana got a bit of a slow start as we searched for a different casa. It was hard because we had been spoiled with some pretty fantastic homes in Cuba. We settled on one right on the Malecon. We stumbled around some areas you’re “supposed” to see in Havana. Then we focused on getting a few things done that needed to be taken care of; namely figuring out bike bags, booking our bus tickets back to the region of our airport, calling the casa near the airport and trying to set up a taxi to the airport that can take bikes. Lot’s of coordinating and waiting; Cuban style. We managed to arrange it and the days before our flight will determine if it all works out.
We enjoyed a nice bike ride to the bus station to book our tickets in advance and I’m really glad we did. When we arrived there was a big line of people listening to someone listing all the bus routes that were sold out for the next two days. We took our spot in line and waited to book our ticket. Most things in Cuba involve a line and lots of waiting. Maybe we are accustomed to it because we rather enjoyed reading our books for the 1.5 hours. Then we raced back to our casa hoping to outrun the thunder and lightning storm. We stopped for some pizza lunch enroute and ended up getting caught. It was pretty fun actually. The storms here are so fierce! The lightning bolts and crackling thunder are rather scary for someone not accustomed to them. Being that it’s June it is after all the stormy season so no surprises and it’s interesting to watch as the Vancouver climate we come from is very mild.
Another one of our days was spent totally relaxing near the casa; reading books, playing games and taking afternoon naps. We really are beginning to master this relaxing thing. Our last day in Havana we decided to head out and see more sights and I’m really glad we did. We were able to enjoy the city on a Saturday and see all the tourist attractions full of energy. Music and people in the streets everywhere. They close the malecon to cars on Saturday afternoons so it was especially nice to see so many people enjoying the city. We also got to sit out in front of our casa and watch it all first hand.
After our big tourist day I really felt like we experienced Havana. It has a certain charm to it, nothing like any other big city we’ve been to. Some of the architecture reminded me of Paris but it seems much older and more in need of repair. In the end I didn’t think Havana was anything like the rest of Cuba. It’s a big city and doesn’t seem to have the carless charm of the Cuba we’ve come to known. At that is likely why we opted to spend our final days in Cuba in a beach community 30 km outside Havana.
We returned to Guanabo for our final 4 days. Unfortunately we didn’t get to stay at the same casa that I would rate the best in Cuba but they found us another one just one block down. We holed up here to read more books, play more games, swim and plan for the next chapter of our adventure.