- Estuve acá: March 2017
- Number of days: 2
- My rating: 3/5
I would not repeat because I already repeated, the first and last day of the trip, but I do believe that Havana should be an essential in the list of anyone who considers himself a traveler. This is what there is in Havana:
- European architecture, probably better than anything built in Europe at the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century. As a Spanish I can assure you that in this city there are more houses and monumental buildings than in any Spanish city, except perhaps Madrid and Barcelona, and is really pitiful to see their condition. It hurts to see that nothing has been maintained or restored in almost 60 years since the revolution. Hundreds of magnificent buildings and huge houses, with their courtyards and columns, all ruined.
- Old American cars. Then you realize they are all over the country, but the first day you can not avoid looking at each passing car and imagine yourself wandering around the city in one of those convertibles, and you’ll just say “no” to the taxi drivers because you’re waiting for the perfect car, the one that when you see it, your eyes will open and your heart will bump and say “take that one!”.
- The music and good atmosphere of Old Havana, which expands from there to the rest of the country and its people. Celia Cruz summarizes it very well when she sings “La Vida es un Carnaval”, which translated lyrics would be something like this: “anyone who thinks that life is unequal, has to know is not like that, that life is a beauty, you have to live it (…) we should not cry, because life is a carnival and it is more beautiful to live singing. ” The Cuban philosophy is like this, people are humble and have needs, but they sing and laugh, and they are kind. It seems that their motto is “my life is hard, am I also being sad? No way!” And that is something that I like, that I admire and that would be necessary in many places.
And now, what will be here in Havana shortly:
- Some extraordinary 19th century European buildings completely restored and painted. It will be nicer, it will be cleaner, it will not make your eyes bleed… and it will be more boring and less original; it will lose its essence.
- Taxis will be hybrid Toyotas, replacing every American car from the 50’s, 40’s or 20’s. Much safer, less noisy, less polluting… and again more boring and less original; it will lose more essence.
- Music of all kinds, chill out terraces instead of live salsa bars, vintage cafes where there were restaurants that did not need to be vintage because they were already old.
- And, considering how quickly the country improves, I only hope the Cuban character does not change. I would not want to go back to Havana in a few years and meet people in a bad mood because their Pilates class has been changed to Crossfit in the gym.
Because when that happens, you’ll realize that … well, you’re not in Havana, you’ll be in Miami. And this, do not be fooled, is coming already: restored impeccable buildings, Toyotas replacing old taxis and Starbucks-like coffee shops in the heart of Old Havana, all this already exists. So hurry up and enjoy Havana as soon as possible, before the essence of Cuba disappears and La Bodeguita del Medio becomes a Dunkin Coffee.
WHAT TO SEE
- OLD HAVANA: ITINERARY
- PLAZA DE LA REVOLUCIÓN
- HOW TO GET THERE AND LEAVE BY LAND
- HOW TO MOVE IN THE CITY
- EATING AND ACCOMMODATION