What a long day. This was, by far, the longest sightseeing day. We left our casa at approximately 10:00 am and did not return until 10:00 pm. But it was a great day! We started by taking a cab to Centro Habana and the Capitolio. It is fashioned after the Capitol in DC, but is currently under renovation. Then we walked over to Parque Central and made our way down the Prado (which wants to be Las Ramblas). Then we went to the Museo de Revolucion. Now, don’t get me wrong, I expected to roll my eyes a WHOLE BUNCH at this museum, but I did not expect the amount of propaganda, especially at the end.
It was interesting to read the history behind the coup, er, revolution. I didn’t know exactly how Che fit into everything, considering he was not Cuban. I got to see the stretcher that carried him from where he died. That was a bit creepy. It was all fine and good until the last part of the museum. It blamed the US for everything under the sun. According to the Cubans (or at least the communists in power), the CIA is capable of just about anything. And callous enough to do it. Apparently we took down a passenger plane filled with other countries’ citizens just because there were some Cubans on board. Yeah, uh huh. The CIA introduced dengue hemorrhagic virus, the Blue Mold, African Swine Fever. Man, the CIA was busy in the ‘70’s. *Eyeroll* But right before the exit was a mural (if you can call it that…Mallory, who is quite liberal, was appalled that it was in their national museum), of “cretins”. The cretins were identified as Fulgencio Batista (the President at the time of the coup), and Reagan, HW Bush, and W Bush. They were depicted as caricatures and Batista “helped make the revolution,” Reagan “helped strengthen the revolution”, HW “helped consolidate the revolution,” and W (in a Nazi helmet) “helped make socialism irrevocable.” I find the last one especially humorous, considering the advances toward capitalism the country has recently made. Anyway, I stood there gawping at this “mural”. There is no other word. I was literally speechless. Appalled doesn’t even begin to describe it.
From there we moved on to a better location…the Cathedral. It was small and simpler than most in Europe, but was still pretty. We did some shopping in Habana Vieja, as we hadn’t really done any yet. Then we found a place for lunch and walked along the river down to an extensive bazaar or craft market. It was huge! After more shopping, we took a cab to the Malecon where we finally got on the internet (well, Mallory’s worked yesterday though mine did not but even hers did not work today), and then spent time strolling along the Malecon at sunset. We may or may not have had half a cigar along the way. We happened to see a couple who had had lunch at the table next to ours while we were on the Malecon. Small city!
We then made our way to the Floridita, a bar/restaurant that was frequented by Hemingway and where the daiquiri was invented. It had live music and was packed. Luckily there was an older couple that had two chairs open at their table and allowed us to join them. During a break in the music, we found out that they are Norwegian. We had a great time talking to them. They were adorable. Seriously, everyone we’ve met on this trip has been so lovely. It’s why I love to travel!
After having a drink (that wasn’t nearly as overpriced as I was expecting), we found a place for dinner. Mallory actually thanked me for saying no to couple of places, which caused her to remember a place nearby. I wasn’t thrilled with walking back the way we had come (seriously, so tired), but we went. Oh my gosh. Best. Dinner. Ever. I finally tried the Ropa Vieja, but I also ordered a bread plate, just in case! When our mojitos came in mason jars, it was clear that this place was trendy AF. But the evidence continued to mount. Regardless, it was hands down, by far, not even close, the best meal I had in Cuba. I LOVED the Ropa Vieja. I did not need the bread plate and they were not happy that I wouldn’t eat it! We ordered a second drink and I had a guava daiquiri. Apparently the bartender was having some fun because my daiquiri came looking like a snowman with a head, a face, and a black top hat. It was amazing! I took a picture of it and the waitress came over to ask how we liked it and I said I took a photo. She said she saw and told me to look at the bartender. He was grinning and I gave him a thumbs up. Such a great place, but could have easily been somewhere in the US. Still. Amazing food! And a wonderful way to end this trip. Tomorrow we head to the airport after breakfast.