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Havana, Cuba

February 25, 2016

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We’ve just come back from an amazing few days in Cuba! It’s one of the most beautiful, humbling places I think I’ve ever been to, and it was a whirlwind of a trip which saw us spend time in Havana, Viñales and Varadero. I’ve got so many photos I’ve had to split them up into two blog posts – here are a few (ahem) photos from our time in Havana.

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The contrast between the abandoned and the refurbished is stark across the capital. Although it’s wonderful to see an investment in the city’s future, there’s something beautiful about the old, tired buildings, and cars that are loved and cared for in such a devoted way.

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^^The Museum of the Revolution. Definitely a must-see!^^

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One of the few plans that I really made was to visit La Bodeguita del Medio and La Floridita –  two of Hemingway’s favourite bars.

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La Bodeguita del Medio was constantly packed with people, but one sunny midday we fought our way in, stood at the bar and watched as the barman made row after row of mojitos, grabbing 10 CUC notes from people as they embraced the tourist’s pitstop and paid far more than they should for the experience. As my body was gripping onto the final few days of the flu I managed about an inch of the cocktail, of which I could barely taste, before giving up and ticking the experience off my to-do list. No regrets.

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“My mojito in the Bodeguita del Medio and my daiquiri in the Floridita.”

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The Malecón is an 8km stretch of road along the seafront that was the perfect route into the Old Town for us. It’s usually buzzing but I guess because it’s their ‘winter’ (pah!) it was quieter than usual, as there were just a few determined fishermen in the mornings!

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Here are just a few of the cars I snapped photos of. There were so many amazing ones whizzing by, I could happily dedicate an entire blog post to them!

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On our last day in Havana we took a tour in this cute car. The driver took us to quite a few places that we hadn’t read about – like an amazing forest in the middle of the city! – and a few that we hadn’t gotten around to visiting, so it was definitely worth the money. I think it was something like £25 for an hours tour.

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Before we left I was a little worried about food. I packed about 75 sos rolls and a ton of flapjacks, but thankfully we didn’t need them (actually, that’s not true – the flapjacks were great for a sweet treat, and we did eat a few of the sos rolls, but they definitely weren’t the only things we ate). We packed our Vegan Passport – if you don’t have a copy, get one! It’s a tiny book that lists all the things that vegans do and do not eat, in pretty much any language you’ll ever need. It came in very useful during this trip, where English-speaking was limited.

This was our first meal in Havana (below), and the start of our Italian adventure. We pretty much relied on Italian food entirely, and this was a brilliant start. As you can see, we used a combination of Spanish phrases and vegan translations. It worked!

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We stumbled upon a cafe in the middle of a square in Havana, and couldn’t believe our eyes when it listed a vegan baguette on the menu! Amazing. We shared a baguette filled with roasted vegetables, and another with loads of hummus and salad. I was so happy I forgot to take a photo!

So that was our time in Havana! It wasn’t as crowded and busy as I thought it was going to be – especially as February is a very busy time for Cuba; the weather is cooler, and relations with America are becoming more agreeable, which has seen a massive spike in tourism for the country. Havana has a really relaxed, warm pace of life – everyone I met was so friendly, with no ulterior motive or hidden agenda. It’s a beautiful city.

Have you been to Havana? What did you love about it?

8 Comments leave one →
  1. February 26, 2016 11:34 am

    Sounds and looks incredible. Unfortunately the Vegan Passport has sold out but will definitely be investing in one for my upcoming travels – thank you!

  2. February 28, 2016 4:20 am

    You get to travel to so many cool places! Love all the pictures.

  3. March 4, 2016 9:53 am

    Totally jealous, I long to go to Cuba it looks and sounds amazing!

Trackbacks

  1. Viñales and Varadero, Cuba | paperbagblog
  2. 2016 in photos & words | paperbagblog

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