The University of Havana is located on a large block in the city center. Access is not easy; when I tried to visit in summer 2007, the guard would not allow me to enter any of the premises. So instead, we took a walk around the perimeter and let the buildings dazzle us from afar. In addition to its buildings, its surroundings are full of educational posters, highlighting the positive aspects of the Cuban educational system. I learned that the regime is responsible for nurturing students at all levels of teaching, giving them uniform, books, and even bed linen as well as didactic materials and other articles that students might need.
Vedado is the most modern and central part of the Cuban capital. This neighborhood around Plaza de la Revolucion is home to the both bourgeois houses of the early twentieth century as well as more contemporary modern buildings. The theaters, cinemas, bars and restaurants make it the center of the city's nightlife. Young people from across the country come here to study at the main university and many of the government institutions have their offices here.
Situated south of the province of Sancti Spiritus in central Cuba, near Trinidad, is a testimony to the development of the sugar industry. In this valley there are many ruins preserved of structures that had to do with the manufacture of sugar, such as the mills, barracks, barns, summer houses, etc. As far as we can see in this area, Iznaga Tower takes up a prime place, with its 45 meters spread over 7 floors, and a viewpoint where you can see the plantations.
Cuba is currently one of the largest exporters of sugar cane in the world. In fact, it is estimated that 20% of the country's population works in this industry. On the outskirts of Santiago de Cuba, you can see numerous sugar cane plantations as shown in these photos. You can visit some of the factories and enjoy a glass of cane juice, a natural drink produced by pressing sugar cane.
It is a replica of a Taino village located in the Guama Resort in Treasure Lake. The Taino are the ancient inhabitants of Cuba. It is decorated with sculptures that replicate the daily activities of the Tainos, and their are replica huts that were their homes. It is located in a beautiful setting in the Zapata Swamp. Open daily from 9 to 17 hours.
At 11 at night, we were on top of one of the well-known mountain on the Isla de la Juventud, the Sierra de las Casas. We slept in a tent that night so we could admire the city of Nueva Gerona Noctura. We were surprised by a storm and I thought, "If I'm going to die here because of the lightning, at least my picture will live on forever." Luckily, the storm passed over us and nothing happened.
The old Matusalem rum is no longer produced in Cuba; since 2002, it has been made in the Dominican Republic. Instead, it's now the Santiago de Cuba Rum Distillery, also of excellent quality. You can try different varieties: 7 years, 11 years, and 25 years Extra Anejo, which they say could perhaps be the best light rum in the world.
The best thing of any place are the people who are there. In Manzanillo, a beautiful town on the eastern coast of Cuba, you can observe that the people enjoy family, friends and their environment much more than we do with our sophisticated lives. It was a unique pleasure to stand for a few minutes to see how an old man cast his net into the sea again and again to get his catch to bring to his table. Or meet Palmer a varnisher that you will find sleeping on the pier, and who will happily tell you his story; an American father who spent all he can on the two passions that made him happy, rum and music.
This basilica in El Cobre, about 20 km from Santiago, draws its name from the region's typical copper deposits, which have been actively used since pre-Columbian times. In the basilica we can see the Virgin of Charity, patroness of Cuba. This image, which measures only 40 cm, is a must for thousands of pilgrims who make offerings. Some of them are kept in the temple like some that Ernest Hemingway left, some from outstanding athletes and even Fidel Castro's mother, who made an offering asking for divine protection for her child in the Sierra Maestra campaign.
The bridge crosses over the river Yayabo in the same city of Sanctis Spiritus and joins both sides of the city. The bridge is made of stone and is in very good condition. A quiet corner under the bridge.
Cienfuegos ... Unbelievable .... Its colonial houses are gorgeous, the people are really friendly, the walk along the beach is amazing, the cemetery (though crumbling) is beautiful. It's all so clean, so well-cared for, it seems incredible that it is still Cuba. We did the same thing in Trinidad ... We visited a house which was offered to us by a guy who was riding on hisbike through the streets looking for customers. No complaints: The charming owner! We had breakfast, scrumptious! We didn't have time to stay to see a palace, we had to catch a ferry, because we had to return to Havana. I hope to return!.
In the melting pot that makes up the current population of Havana, the Chinese, although there are not many of them, helps to make this city even more cosmopolitan. You can count on the fingers of one hand the native born Chinese people that are left in the city, but, despite all the different nationalities that can be found there, some of these people are still nicknamed as "Chinese." It is not uncommon to find a brown-skinned Cuban and a Caribbean accent with slanted eyes, it is very curious. The street names are in Castillian and Chinese, to recapture the spirit of the neighborhood.