Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Havana & 52Q

Havana is just fascinating.
It's a city full of such varied history, there's so much colour, some wonderful architecture, plenty of dust and decay, music and art around every corner, such a mix of cultures and tbh it's pretty much impossible to describe.
I'm just going to waffle on for a bit and add a few pics, I hope it's not too boring!

We had a couple of nights there before flying to Cayo Largo, then returned for 4 nights after the beach bit of our holiday. On our first day back in the city we arranged an afternoon's tour with a guide to help us get to grips with the place. Part of the tour was by car so that we could explore the newer parts of the city and those bits which are easier and quicker to see with the convenience of a car.
We visited the fabulous buildings in the "embassy" area, the forts, the important sites of the revolution etc, then our fab guide took us into Old Havana to explore the plazas and interesting buildings to be found there. Whilst we'd have seen most of this stuff with the help of our trusty guidebook, the really special thing about having a local guide was how he took us inside the buildings we'd not have got into on our own and how he was able to make it easier for us to locate the things we wanted to go back to in our own time. I'm sure he deflected a lot of the "do you want a guide?" and "please give me money" type stuff too - which can be tricky to navigate when you're somewhere new.
There's a restaurant in the little blocky bit right at the top of the big tower at the back of the photo - we went there for dinner one night, I think it's the 33rd floor - great views over the city!
This is inside the VERY posh Oriente restaurant - we didn't eat there!
Obviously, Fidel Castro and the rest of the Revolutionaries play a great part in the scenery of Havana, I was fascinated and impressed by this 20 storey high metal relief of Che Guevara on one of the buildings in Revolution Square - I loved how the sculpture is so striking and yet such a simple design.
This is just one photo of the street art to be seen on the walls in parts of the City.
Go inside the wonderful Capitol Building and the first thing you see is La Estatua de la Rep├║blica, the worlds's third largest statue under cover - that little blob on the left of the statue is me!
The Capitol is no longer the government building, but part of it is open to the public and you might, like us - get to sit in Castro's chair!
This photo was taken from the steps of the Capitol Building - I'll add more photos of the building itself another time.
The city is full of beautiful old plazas and fabulous buildings. Some are well maintained, others in a state of rubble and it's great to see that lots of them are being renovated, especially in the old town and along the Malacon - Havana's long, long promenade.

I suppose graveyards aren't top of everyone's sightseeing list, but missing out on visiting the Christopher Columbus cemetary would have been a mistake - it's an amazing, crazy place, full of not only "ordinary" family plots, but tombs like those in the photo below.
Apparently, bodies are only allowed to rest in the main part of the tomb for two years, after that the bones are removed and placed in the seperate section at the back of the plot. Space is at a premium.After a day exploring Havana it was always a bit of a relief to get back to the serenity of our hotel (more pics another time), even if the mean's of transport to get there was a little strange!
As well as trying to catch up with sleep, I'm also trying to catch up with some crafting. I'm miles behind with my 52Q cards and thought that doing some of that would ease me gently back into my crafting - I'm avoiding making a list of all the things that are really more urgent that this though - I know it'll be scary!

Anyway, here are questions 3 and 4. Which mean's I'm only 2 or 3 weeks behind now hahaha

Right, enough waffling for today - I need a coffee and then I'm going to tackle that to-do list. I am, honestly........


Karen said...

I have heard that Havana is interesting but your pics show that it is more interesting than I thought. Would love to go there!

Great job on your 52Q's Kathy :) X

Traceyr said...

fab photos keep them coming

lovely narration too

more please x

Em said...

You jammy so-and-so!!!!!

Glad you had a lovely holiday, the photos are gorgeous!

Gez said...

Lovely 52Q cards. I bet you had great fun making them. :D Love the little gems on the swirl.

Gorgeous shots. Keep 'em comming. xx

Lynsey said...

Hi Kathy great pics, these bring back memories I was on my honeymoon in Cuba this time 2 years ago!
Hugs Lynsey:)

Suzie said...

Wow, it looks a fascinating place! Fab photos :)

Janice said...

Thank you for sharing your holiday pictures Kathy, they look fabulous and I'd love to see that photo of the arch into the courtyard on a layout!!!

Angelnorth said...

Some great pics here Kathy - I feel a mini book at the very least coming on! Nice to see you easing yourself back in to crafting too - the 52Q cards look fab!

Beth said...

Great pics Kathy, love the beautiful blue sky and reading alla bout your hols. XX

Hazel said...

Great to see more of Cuba x