My Trip to Cuba - Day 2

Day Two in Cuba was again spent in Havana's downtown, asking tons of questions and learning about Cuban society from our tour guide. It is really hard to imagine how this works, where the government owns absolutely everything, where healthcare, rents and education are free yet so many live in what seems to be abject poverty in buildings that are crumbling around them. Our taxi driver had a degree in Engineering but could earn more in tourism with tips than working for the government making a very low wage. The people were all so warm and friendly and happy for those tourism dollars.

We saw many of the gorgeous colonial era buildings either already restored or in the process of renovation, among them the Hotel Inglaterra and we watched painters scaling the walls working on the exterior. And of course mixed in with the restored buildings were those in many states of what I like to call "Romantic Decay." 

We left the hotel after breakfast and set off to visit a few artist workshops, enjoyed a tasty lunch and had a lesson with Jane in front of the Cathedral. After more sightseeing, we returned to the hotel to rest a bit before heading out for dinner at the Cafe Laurent. (remember to click on the image to view in its entirety)

Hotel Nacional's beautiful lobby

Fidel Castro's likeness is ever present and this dynamic painting is in the hotel lobby

Colorful Havana

Hotel Inglaterra getting a fresh coat of paint

La Floridita, one of Hemingway's favorite bars

Initiates of the Santeria religion are required to wear all white for a year

Papermaking Workshop where we bought the most beautiful handmade papers

Mural on the wall of the papermaking workshop

Happy in Havana!

Restaurant signage: Cuccina Dona Teresa

Havana's colorful architecture

Street that led to the graphics workshop at the end

Artisan working on a design to be screenprinted

Litho stones used to print cigar wrappers, box labels and boxes

Restaurant walls were covered with writings of guests

Colorful wares in souvenir shop

Outdoor cafe

Cathedral square where Jane gave a lesson. One of the very few churches we saw

Romantic decay!

Cafe Laurent - where we enjoyed dinner together at the end of our busy day


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