[April 2010] This is a continuation of our trip to Cuba.
The next day, we left Varadero’s unrealistic blue sea and moved to Havana, where we had started our journey.
The taxi driver who came to pick us up this time was a huge black man with the scary atmosphere.
What’s more, he was completely silent that made him even more scary, so much so that I exchanged our glances with my husband.
However, all the music he was playing in the car was salsa, which was fun.
The hotel we stayed at in Havana was Hotel Sevilla with some histories, for example Al Capone and Graham Greene stayed here long ago.
It is also a tourist attraction and is included in the walking tour recommended by our guidebook.
The lobby floor was very nice and had a bit of Spanish Mudejar style, but the rooms were simple and tired.
I suppose you could say that the room was quaint.
The bathroom door didn’t open early in the morning next day, so we had to change our clothes and ask for help.
We were quite upset, but the hotel staff responded in the attitude that this was a common problem.
On the lobby floor there was a courtyard with the cafe, and it was nice there with the live music.
We left our luggage at the hotel and went out to walk around the town of Havana.
First, we took a taxi to the old town called Havana Vieja.
By the way, Florida Hotel, the first hotel we stayed in in Cuba was in the old town, and this Hotel Sevilla was in Centro Habana.
We wanted to follow the directions of the walking tour in the guidebook, but first of all, the place where we got off the taxi was wrong, and the people told us a wrong way, so we had to give that up.
At first, without knowing that it was the wrong place, we thought that the church in front of us was a cathedral and visited it.
Later, it turned out to be a church called San Francisco de Asis.
Built in the early 17th century and renovated in the early 18th century, it was a magnificent building with a beautiful courtyard.
We went out to the roof of it and enjoyed the view around the harbor.
Old Havana is a photogenic town that makes you want to take pictures in any direction.
We spent a short time in Havana, but the number of photos we took was by far the most.
When we got lost and tired, we had a rest at a cafe that brewed the local beer.
I am sure, it was a place facing Plaza de Armas.
The middle aged singer of the band here sang, putting the country name of each tourist in the songs, and everyone was tipping him handsomely.
Yes, that was one aspect of this country.
We had to tip all the time here.
Moreover, the peso we tourists used was written as CUC, which had 25 times more expensive than the peso of the locals.
For this reason, prices were almost the same for travellers as in the United Kingdom, and we were forced to splurge.
I thought it couldn’t be helped because it was a poor country.
However, this old Havana seemed to have an unpleasant custom of trying to squeeze money from tourists.
For example, an old woman posing in a folk costume demanded a model fee (similar people were also in Cartagena, Colombia in 2017), and a strangely friendly couple approached us and lied, “We are going to Japan tomorrow” inviting us to a cafe and we had to pay for them.
It was good to have fun when we got on a vehicle called Coco Taxi, which was a motorcycle wrapped in a round shell, but when it came time to get off, the driver claimed that he had no change, and we ended up paying twice as much.
So I felt a tension that I had not felt at the other places during this holiday.
Anyway, eventually, we arrived at the square with the cathedral, but the cathedral was closed and we couldn’t enter.
But here too, the pink flowers were in full bloom and it was a beautiful and wonderful subject for photography.