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Welcome to Havana

As an American, being able to visit Cuba has been a long-term goal that I never thought was going to be attainable. Luckily, recent political events have made it possible for American visitors again- although even more recent political events are making it more difficult again. Politics aside, if you can get to Cuba, make the effort! I am having an amazing time so far in Cuba and can’t wait to tell you all about some of my Havana adventures.

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We arrived in Havana on Good Friday. Cuba is well-known for having been a big Catholic stronghold in the Caribbean pre-revolution. Recently, religion has starting becoming a bigger part of Cuban citizen’s lives again (post-Fidel) so there were a lot of closures at public museums and churches holding services (although when I looked inside most churches were only half full on Easter Sunday).

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In Old Havana, Havana Viejo, tourists take in all the architecture from centuries past, mostly in refurbished plazas or squares in this section of town. Usually brightly colored and beautiful homes above museums, stores, and other public/government offices.

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My new favorite mailbox design:

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As an American you are technically always supposed to be on a people-to-people tour with a guide on your vacation. We signed up to do a Hemingway tour but it was cancelled last minute because no one thought to look up whether his house and museum was open on Good Friday (it wasn’t). Instead we visited his drinking haunts around Havana. Mojito time!

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The new tour led us towards hotels and bars that Hemingway frequented. And being that he was an alcoholic, we had a few drinks along the way as well.

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I did not dance with the band who only seemed to know the song “Guantanamera”.

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But my favorite part about Havana besides the gorgeous architecture is the vintage cars driving around. Cuba was not able to import new cars with regularity so they had to resort to fixing up the old ones. Half the cars on the street are the coolest while the other half are usually ugly Russian beaters.

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Transportation is Cuba is so varied. I saw tractors pulling flatbeds with workers on it, vintage cars whizzing by, horse and buggy (taxis and private vehicles), Russian cars falling apart,  and big, beautiful Chinese-made tour buses.

I was obsessed with taking photos of vintage cars- the brighter the better!

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I wandered away from my guide on purpose (shhhhh!!!!) and did some exploring and photo taking on my own. I had a grand day in Havana! Luckily we have 3 days in Havana before moving on to explore 2 other Cuban in other parts of the country.

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