Traveling / Uncategorized

Cuba; Day 3- Adventures in Habana Vieja, Part II

Please see the previous post, Cuba; Day 3-Adventures in Habana Vieja, Part I

After seeing the Plaza de Armas, we took a tour of el Castillo de la Real Fuerza, the oldest existing fort in the Americas, built between 1558 and 1577 on the site of an earlier fort destroyed by French privateers in 1555.

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After our tour of the fort, we were ready for lunch.  Our guide book as well as every Cuban in Havana recommended Los Nargos, a restaurant on the third floor of one of the buildings across from the Capitol.  I had eaten there on my last trip to Cuba, but we decided to give it a try since it had such great reviews.  When we arrived, there was a “10-15 minute” line outside the door.  Cuba= lines, lines, lines.  The line ended up being about 45 minutes, but we got into conversation with the two people in front of us- a man and his Cuban tour guide and we ended up continuing the conversation and eating lunch with them.

We started with a couple of pitchers of sangria and a basket of bread.  I demolished the bread…

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For my entree, I ordered pollo (chicken) with moros y christianos (black beans and rice) and boiled yuca and a SALAD!  I missed vegetables.  The food took awhile to come, but that bread held me over…and we had this man play us some music.

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When the food finally came, I only ate a little bit of chicken, all of the salad and the yuca.  We suspected that the beans and rice had pork in them, so I stayed away.  The food was alright, but mom and I decided that all of the food in Cuba is pretty much mediocre.  No one goes to Cuba and says, “Wow, you NEED to try this or that”.  Cuba food itself if delicious, but in Cuba, they don’t have the resources to make it as tasty as it could be.

After lunch, we continued our journey to the various famous squares.  Some scenes from the walk…ImageImageImageImage

And then we arrived at Plaza Vieja (Old Square).  According to our guidebook, this square was originally used as a place for military exercises and later served as an open-air marketplace.  During the Batista regime, an underground parking lot was built, but it was destroyed in 1996 and a massive renovation ensued.  We walked around and bought a coconut ice cream-thing.  It was so good!  We got another a few days later.

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This young couple asked me to take a photo of them:

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And for my “What Is Odd About This Photo” of the day:

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That’s a fountain in La Habana Vieja.  What is different about that fountain compared to any fountain in the United States?

The difference is that there is no money in there whatsoever.  This fountain is a prime example of the way that there is no disposable income in Cuba.  Any money that they have is necessary for survival.  I walked up to that fountain ready to throw a penny in, but was a little bit shocked when I saw that it was empty.

After seeing all of the squares, we made our way back to the Capitol.ImageImageImageImage

Once we were there, we asked a number of people where to go to catch a collectivo home, and each person told us something different!  Eventually, we stood on the side of the road, waived a cab down and got in!

Once we were home, we shared our adventures with Pepe and Yolanda, had a little (okay, a lot) of flan and then headed to bed around ten.

I had a lot of fun exploring La Habana Vieja with my mom.  I fell asleep so excited for the adventure that we had planned for the next day.

More on that soon!

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