Havana Journals

A day out in Havana

Best of IgoUgo

A March 2007 trip to Havana by MichaelJM

Havana International Airport Photo, Havana, Cuba More Photos
Quote: I thought my legs would drop off and that the blisters would never disappear, but walking is the best way to catch Havana.

A day out in Havana

Best Of IgoUgo

Overview

Restoration rules Photo, Havana, Cuba
Quote:
It’s impossible to leave Havana without having a lasting memory of the music. It was on every corner, up every alleyway, and in every restaurant and bar. We saw wandering minstrels, who seemed to be playing for fun rather than cash, because they made no effort to approach us for money, just gave a broad grin as they ambled there way around town. The music is played with great enthusiasm. Well, I guess they’d claim rhythm is in their soul.Other than music you can't help but be pleased by the different modes of transport. It makes for a real clash of culture and gives you a schizoid view of what century/decade you might be enjoying. The scene down the promenade of countless 1950s cars will be ...Read More

Old Parliament Building

Attraction | "The Old Parliament"

Old Parliament Building Photo, Havana, Cuba
Quote:
En route for the rum factory, I saw a church-like building that looked interesting and worthy of further investigation. A short flight of steps led to an impressive entrance which beckoned me forward. They explained that this was the old parliament building until the capital building was erected, and that admission was by way of a small donation. We were happy to accept her guided tour of this historical and presumably important building. We were led through the large, lavish, entrance hall into the council chamber (now a conference hall) with its faux marble pillars and colorful stained glass windows.It really wasn’t too difficult to imagine the powerhouse of Cuban politicians deliberating h...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 3, 2007

Old Parliament Building

Havana, Cuba

Tacon

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

D’Giovanni’s Photo, Havana, Cuba
Quote:
At the back of Cathedral Square towards Havana’s promenade is Tacon, a permanent street market, that is well worth checking out. It’s not the biggest in the world, rather compact, but absolutely crammed with work of local artisans. Instinctively you know to hang on to your valuables as the passage between stalls is tight and it’s difficult to stop to browse without obstructing other shoppers. In the end, we had to accept that people needed to maneuver around us otherwise we wouldn’t have stopped to view anything. Within seconds, a guy brushes past us muttering meaningfully "Sir, do you want fine cigars?" before disappearing into the hoards of shoppers. This approach became all too familiar as we we...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 3, 2007

Havana International Airport

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Havana International Airport Photo, Havana, Cuba
Quote:
So, after our Cuban experience, we end up back at Havana International Airport. It’s not the busiest in the world and although it seems fairly efficient, the pace is not speedy and of course the Cuban love of bureaucracy shows through with a vengeance. Now we’d been told on numerous times that we must "buy our exit ticket" before we check in, so a group of us troll down to the booth. One of the young women from the group dutifully passed over her 50 pesos (for herself and partner) and passports only to be asked for her boarding card, Of course she didn’t have one because we hadn’t booked in yet. Could we be in catch-22 territory here? The cashier solemnly handed back the passport and told the recipien...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 3, 2007

Havana International Airport
Avenida Van Troy
Havana, Cuba
+ 53 (7) 649-5777

Plaza de la Revolucion

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Revolution Square"

Plaza de la Revolucion Photo, Havana, Cuba
Quote:
For some reason, unbeknownst to myself, we decided to walk from the Capitolio Nacional to the Plaza de la Revolucion (well it did look close on the map!). We strode off in good spirits past the Cigar Factory and into the area known as China Town, through a pagoda shaped archway. We remembered from our horse and carriage tour that China Town was once the home of over 10,000 Chinese but the vast majority left Cuba on the arrival of communism and the remainder became integrated into the Cuban population. Our wander through this area confirmed that China Town is now a misnomer for this part of the City and despite the odd Chinese restaurant, we saw very little signs of immigrant culture.In a shor...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 3, 2007

Plaza de la Revolucion
Vedado
Havana, Cuba

Catedral

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Cathedral Square"

Catedral Photo, Havana, Cuba
Quote:
Cathedral Square was a hive of activity and, despite its heavy restoration, it has a real original and traditional feel to it. The Cathedral obviously dominates the square with its impressive double bell tower standing proudly and authoritatively over the plaza’s community. An elderly gentleman strutted around the center of the square sporting a huge cigar and a gnarled walking stick. His vocation was to act as a model for any tourists willing to pay a peso or two for the privilege of using him in their family photo. Other brightly dressed maidens paraded the squares, more blatant in their approach. They would accost obvious tourists and almost demand cash. For her part, a large women sat in the shad...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 4, 2007

Catedral
Empedrado 156
La Habana, Cuba 10600
+53 7 617771