June 12-22, 2015

Havana Viejo is the earliest constructed part of the city with old castles and fortications built to protect the harbor and city.

[Havana Habor Fort] [Royal Force Castle] [Royal Force Moat]

The old city containes many beautiful plazas such as the original Plaza San Francisco with original buildings such as its church, now a music center, an art museum, and post office nearby. This plaza just over a block from our hotel was where we picked up taxis to tour the city. These plazas are conected with narrow cobblestoned pedestrian streets lined with old buildings with offices and homes.

[Plaza San Francisco] [Museum on Plaza] [Post Office on left, Museum on right]

One of the most beautiful old city plazas is Plaza Viejo with its four sides filled with early homes, a theater and other public buildings.

[Plaza Viejo] [Plaza Viejo restored homes] [Plaza Viejo Cafe]

Plaza Viejo also has a number of excellent cafes and shops including a Benetton store where Jim bought another shirt and was helped by a very friendly salesman. One old building nearby was being restored to beome a new hotel.

<[Plaza Viejo] Cafe [Jim with Benetton Salesman] [Plaza Viejo Restoration Project]

Nearby is the Cuban Congress Building also going through restoration and a museum dedicated to the Revolution containg The Granma, the boat that Castro and Che sailed from Mexico to Cuba to begin the Revolution.

[Congress Dome] [Congress Building] [Museum]

We toured out to the huge Plaza Revolution with its tall tower and many government buildings.

[Government Building] [Revolution Tower ] [Government Building]

Also on our tour was a visit to the famed National Hotel close to the Malecon.

[National Hotel] [National Lobby] [National Terrace]

Back in Old Havana we hit the walking streets and visited Hotel Ambos Mundos where Ernest Hemingway stayed when in the city. Our guide led Jim upstairs to see Hemingway's bedroom, while Robin chose to rest in the Lobby. As we left stilt dancers moved up the narrow street.

[Ambos Mundos] [Ambos Mundos] [Stilt Dancers]

[Ambos Mundos Elevator & Guide] [More Stitlt Dancers] [Hemingway's Bedroom]

On Plaza Cathedral we visited the Cathedral and noted many colorful restored homes.

[Cathedral] [Cathedral Interior] [Yellow/Blue Home]

Then it was on to the Plaza Armas with the Palace of the General Captains and many book stalls.

[Palace of the General Captains] [Plaza Armas] [Restored Home]

It was great to see more early restored homes in Old Havana. One necent building showed how new architecture could be blended with the old by retaining an early church steeple within the new construction.

[Restored Home] [New building with old church tower included] [Restored Home]

In the old city sometimes a bicycle taxi was better suited to the narrow pedestrian streets. We passed the birthplace of Jose Marti, a famous Cuban hero.

[Bicycle Taxi] [Jose Marti Birthplace] [Jose Marti Birthplace]

Our favorite mode of transportation, however, was with Humberto and his restored 1929 Ford convertible. On Saturday night on route to dinner, he took us for a tour along the Malecon with its many high rises, including the American Embassy and on through a neighborhood filled with colorfully painted old homes and the elegantly classic architecture of the University of Havana.

[Malecon] [Malecon] [US Embassy]

[colorful home] [University of Havana] [colorful home]

[colorful home] [colorful home] [colorful home]

on Sunday Humberto drove us out to the Hemingway home, but we found it closed. As an alternative he took us to rare site for the city, the Havana Bosque (Woods) where we relaxed in a jungle like setting after the long taxi ride.

[Humberto & '29 Ford taxi] [Havana Bosque River] [Robin & Humberto at our rest stop]

We also enjoyed four great restaurants in Havana and loved to see the old classic cars. Check out those pages on the Cuba Menu.

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Jim & Robin's Travel Adventures