Discovering Havana – and Our Final Good-Bye

Message of the Day – “What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”  Pericles, ancient Greek politician

Old Havana tour

Iconic colonial Spanish architecture.

Our final full day in Cuba. After what I think everyone would agree was a tasty breakfast, we toured Old Havana with our guide Guillermo. Following our walking tour, we headed to the Museum of the Revolution, followed by lunch at El Figaro. Boasting 27 types of mojitos, El Figaro has a charming restaurant and, as an added bonus, we were serenaded by the talented and handsome group – Padrinos de Cuba. They seemed to radiate joy as they sang.

We toured the Arte Corte district, where we visited a beauty school, a beauty shop/museum in someone’s home (which was both beautiful and eclectic), and a rehabilitation facility for the elderly called Casa de Abuelos Neuva Vida.  We learned that services then cost $1 per day and it is possible for other seniors in the city to get all their meals for 10 cents per day. Next we visited Martalena, a home where several different artists exhibit and sell their work.  It was profusion of colors. And cats.  Finally, we visited Barbe Parque, possibly the only barber/hairdresser themed playground in the world.  But what do I know? The world is a big place.

Back on the bus, we headed to Muraleando, where we met Victor, the energetic and self-actualized guy

Havana tour

Victor describes mission of Muraleando.

who runs the place.  He clearly loves his work. Muraleando is an art space for music, painting, sculpture, and the like.  It is very community oriented and provides lots of free art programs for kids.  And, as Victor pointed out many times, the whole place used to be a dump.  For dinner we dined at a lovely restaurant called Restaurant called ElAljibe but first we toured the cit;y in two Classic Convertibles – a cherry red 1060 Buick Invicta and an apple green 1948 Chevy Fleetmaster.  Talk about riding in style!

One final parting thought before we “Guantanamera” our way home, Eduardo thanked us for being here and for helping to build bridges of love and understanding between Cuba and the US.  I hope we were truly able to do that during our time here.

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