The city of color and dullness. Decaying splendor. Pink, shiny cadillacs and run-down fiat 126p. The turstic part of the city, Habana Vieja, among renowated old buildings offers popular bars such as La Bodeguita del Medio or La Floridita, where Ernest Hemingway and the rest of Cuban bohema used to go. Calle Obispo, a popular street with shops and restaurants, gets quite crowded at times, but mostly by turists. For us, this quater does not have the atmosphere of real Cuba, and since you can pay here only in the convertible peso, it is quite expensive. On the other hand, Habana Centro is the place with real soul, a number of narrow streets with old buildings almost falling apart but still hosting local residents. People spend most of their lives in doors and windows. Literally. Every day, we have drank their sweet, strong coffee bought straight from the private apartment's window for 1 local peso, often served in a doll tea cup. Rum and beer were the best in small typical cuban bars drank with residents, their dogs and cats. A few times, we have drank them in glasses cut out of bottles. People of Havana are known for their ability to do someting out of nothing. Zero waste movement is so real in here, not because of modrn lifestyle, but because they do not have many things or they are just very expensive. Personally, we did have numerous reflections on consumptionism and capitalistic lifestyle, which on one hand gives you everything you want, but also creates the need to possess more and more. Life in Havana is poor, sometimes to the limits. But people are great human beings, very frindly, warm, social. Many of them, of course, tries to make money on tourists, but taking in mind their really low national wages, it is understnadable.
Our top favorite places are El Patchanka, a cool restaurant-bar with good food and the best pina-colada we have had in the whole Cuba. And we tried it every single day. Just next to that place, also in Plaza del Cristo, is El Chanchullero with delicious meals for 5 euro. A place that was a total surprise for us, was Fabrica de Arte Cubano. A visit there have changed our way of looking at the Cuban art. Crossing the door of the gallery we travel in place and time. It is for sure, the most hipster place in the whole city, having up-to-date expositions and fun attractions. Callejon de Hamel is the other dimension of art world, but the poorer one. Here, the works of art, are 100% from recycled materials and artistic values questionable, but of course, it is a matter of personal taste. Going to Plaza Vieja, we do recommend going up the tallest building to the rooftop where is a camera obscura and you can see the view of the city.
The whole island, Carribean sun, climate and inhabitants enchanted us from the beginning to the end. for sure, we would love to come back to Cuba, play dominos with a grandma smoking a cigar, drink rum, stroll in the Sun and dance rumba.
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