There is no doubt – the streets of Havana are the biggest “American Classic Cars Museum” in the world! Thanks to the four-decade of Castro’s leadership, visiting Havana is still like a great journey through the past, as he has prohibited the import of foreign cars. The cars you will find on the streets of Cuba have probably been there 40 years ago. Our fellow Raidel told us that the biggest black market in Cuba is definitely the market for auto parts. For example, his Chevy has been absolutely pimped up! Raidel has rebuilt the gasoline engine into diesel and the manual gearbox into automatic.
I really fell in love with Havana’s beautiful and brightly coloured buildings, but there is nothing to compare with the feeling of seeing the great compilation of classic cars … And these beauties are not just some cars – they are both matter of existence and national pride. If you have missed the first part from my Cuba
El Capitolio is probably the most important and well-known building in the capital of Cuba. The National Capitol Building was the Parliament Building until the Cuban revolution in the ‘50s. Nowadays, El Capitolio hosts the Cuban Academy of Science. The design of it reminds the famous Capitol Building of the United States in Washington and its cupola has been inspired by the Panthéon in Paris.
Welcome to “Floridita” – the place used to be the favourite place of Ernest Hemingway in Cuba and nowadays, you can find a lot of photographs, memorabilia, and even a bronze statue of the author here. “Floridita” opened in the year of 1817 (almost 200 years ago) and it currently is not only a bar, but also a well-known fish restaurant in Havana. This place is still favoured for its daiquiris! They are all prepared with fresh fruit juices and rum, following the traditional receipt of Constante – the man, who invented the frozen daiquiris in the early ‘30s. Not to forget – the fabulous live music in “Floridita” – a win-win opportunity to shake with some “Buena Vista Social Club” rhythm and first-class daiquiris!
The next iconic bar in Havana, that we were pleased to visit, was the “Sloppy Joe’s Bar” – a historic place which was closed for 48 years and (lucky us!) reopens in 2013 for visitors. “Sloppy Joe’s Bar” has longer than forty years of history and before the revolution, it was a hot spot for Hollywood celebrities and bohemian tourists. I really enjoyed this bar as it was a combination between a “time machine” and a “rum museum”! The saloon is also famous for having the longest mahogany bar not only in Cuba but perhaps in the whole world.
So we enjoyed the traditional for this bar coffee with honey (a must have after all these cocktails…) and headed to our next place to visit – the park “Parque del Cristo de La Habana”. The white, 20 metres high, the marble statue “El Cristo de La Habana” definitely remains the one in Rio de Janeiro! Probably the best time to visit this place is on the early evening when the sun goes slowly down behind the harbour of Havana… Wait till the first lights come on and feel the atmosphere of this unique and stunning place!
Enjoy the day!