I have to say up front that I had 350 images to sift through this day, more than any other day. I loved most of them and it was very hard to choose which to share.
We met in the lobby of the hotel before breakfast to walk the five or six blocks to a traditional market where the meat was being butchered before our eyes and all manner of fruits and vegetables were for sale. Everyone was going about their business and not paying much attention to the crazy American photographers. I think I have enough good photos from there alone for a show by themselves.
Back to the hotel for lovely buffet breakfast then into the van for a trip to Ernest Hemingway’s house. I did not realize that he lived in Cuba
for over 20 years. He left for Paris after the revolution expecting to come back but never made it. They have kept his house as a museum just as he and his wife left it. The rooms are filled with books, and art, and animal head trophies adorn every wall. While they do not allow you to go into the house, all the windows and doors are open for viewing the rooms. At the top left is his library, below that the living room, notice the bull fighting poster and the well stocked bar. On the right is his tower room where he could go to write, take a nap or spy on the women at the swimming pool with his telescope.
We then went to the village of Cojimar where Hemingway used to dock his boat and where he got the inspiration for The Old Man and the Sea from an actual incident that happened there. We had a huge lunch which started with a honey mojito (by this point in the trip our slogan was “drink it fast before the ice melts” and I was already taking Cipro and Imodium to counteract an episode the night before, so what the heck). The drink was followed by two rounds of appetizers, a main course which included chicken, beef, fish, and lobster, vegetables, rice and beans. Rice pudding was served for dessert. I tried it but only confirmed that I still do not like rice pudding. Down at the waterfront we were serenaded by musicians. The old man in the wheelchair had a sign that said “I have ailment Parkinson’s,” possibly an asset for shaking the maracas. He still sang well though. We walked along
the sea wall and sat in the shade for a bit then back to the hotel for a quick siesta.
At 4pm we were loaded into three old convertibles. A pink Chevy, a red Ford, and a Turquoise Buick. I was riding in the Chevy which was probably in the worst condition but we had hands down the best looking driver. We went first to see the Christ of Havana statue. At 60ft it is the second largest statue of Christ after the one in Rio. Interestingly, the statue was commissioned by Batista’s wife in 1958 and was completed a week before the Revolution.
Next, we hopped back into the cars to visit an old fort built between 1763 and 1774 by the Spanish. Here we had a marvelous view of an amazing sunset and we even got to see a cruise ship leaving town. The cars dropped us off at another American café, very
similar to the first (where we had lunch the first day in Havana) with a similar menu. Even though I wasn’t hungry I had a tuna sandwich, two beers and some cheesecake.