Exploring Havana | Museums and Rum

What to do in Havana when you think you go nuts the next time someone asks you if you need a cab or want something to eat? Enter a museum! Learn something about history. (You´re literally asked every 5 seconds and I was about to use all the nasty Spanish words I learned in Quito – fewer than you think – more than once…) However, on our way to the museum we crossed some beautiful green places that had a calming effect on my nerves.

The Museo de la Revolución is one of the places I really recommend. Cuban historiography is of course very biased, but this is true for the one as well as for the other point of view. Besides the interesting display items (the ones that are depicted in every travel guide are Chés boots and a stone on which someone wrote “Fidel” with his own blood but there is more, really), the building as the former Presidential Palace is impressive itself. And guess what, it was under construction.

Museo de la Revolución:

Courtyard:

Some impressions from the inside… The former presidents office with some beautiful old armchairs and spot the grand piano in the hallway and the golden altar. There´s also a huge ballroom (under construction, no photo) and a hall of mirrors with a nice ceiling fresco.

The staircase:

Presidents office:

Ceiling in the Salon de los Espejos:

Altar:

And finally my favorite part of the building, the “Rincón de los cretinos” (Jackass corner). May I make some suggestions for more cartoons?

Nonverbal:

On our way to the next “museum” we spotted La Bodeguita del Medio, one of Ernest Hemingways favorite bars. By the way, I have not yet read any of Hemingways books. Any recommendations? We haven´t had a drink in that place, because it was overcrowded even during the day and super expensive (for Cuba).

La Bodeguita Del Medio:

We also crossed the Plaza de la catedral, named after the baroque cathedral overtowering the place. Interestingly it was built asymmetrically with one of the bell towers being twice the size of the other.

I do not exactly know what the gesture meant, however I guess that it is to bless travelers on their way: everybody (Cubans and tourists) was knocking on the door of the cathedral with an old knocker and went to an altar inside afterwards to pray (I lateron read that the remains of Columbus used to be kept there).

La Catedral de la Virgen María de la Concepción Inmaculada de La Habana:

Ceiling:

Another baroque church, the Convento de San Francisco de Asís is located at a place of the same name. This is actually my favorite place in Havana, because it was neither overcrowded by tourists nor muggy, maybe because it is close to the sea.

Plaza de San Francisco:

Corner:

Alley:

Convento de San Francisco de Asís:

(Oh look, there´s one of those piggy pink houses in the back!)

Next we visited el museo del Ron. This is absolutely nothing you have to do, but we also visited the Heineken museum in Amsterdam, so this is kind of a tradition 😉

We know now what the original recipe for Mojito includes and that you can buy 90 year old rum for only 1000 $.

Museo del Ron:

Havana Club:

We had our rum of the day (evening) in a nice small bar with a band playing. I had to return the next day and take this photo, because it was indeed named “Cafe Paris” but had nothing to do with France at all.

Cafe Paris:

The next day we left Havana for Bay of Pigs, the next stop on our trip. I´ll report on this and some more general things (e. g. food) in the next post!

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