Dec 21, 2017 - Harmony V
Welcome to Havana! The long wait is over. For most of the group, today is their first full day in Cuba’s capital, a gem of a city overlooking the Atlantic, just 100 miles south of Florida. Clear skies made for a delightful walking tour of the historic old city, led by local guides Lázaro Diáz and Alejandro Anillo. They introduced us to both restored and dilapidated areas of Old Havana.
We enjoyed a filling lunch at La Moneda Cubana, just off of Cathedral Square, and then split into two groups for our afternoon people-to-people activities. One group learned about Hemingway’s adventurous life in Cuba from specialist Tatiana Mena, at his former estate Finca Vigía, while the others went to meet with cigar rollers at Cuba’s infamous Partagas factory. We learned about the restoration of Cuba’s cars at an antique automobile garage, and then strolled around town in a chain of 1950s Chevrolets, learning first-hand from the drivers about what life is like in Havana.
In traditional Lindblad Expeditions – National Geographic fashion, we invited an evening speaker – Jorge Mario Sanchez, a professor of Economics at the University of Havana. Sanchez discussed the ever-changing relations between Cuba and the United States, and gave us valuable insight about current economic reform in Cuba.
We proceeded to dinner at La Barraca, in the gardens of Hotel Nacional, which included generous portions of Cuban creole dishes, including rice, beans, roasted pork, and ropa vieja, as well as a traditional dessert of marmalade with cheese. With full bellies, most of us retired to our rooms, while a few summoned the energy to explore Vedado nightlife and the historic Tropicana cabaret.
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