Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Viva Ernesto!

We pay a visit to Ernest Hemmingways home. It's a beautiful property that Ernest purchased for about $18 K in the 1950's. Ernest was a big game hunter, so lots of trophy's

The house is stated to be exactly as it was left when Ernest fled Cuba before the 1959 revolution.

A terrace outside the house.

Our guide Manolo walks the grounds

This is the master bedroom. We see full bookshelves in every room, even the bathroom.

Another room, more book cases. Ernest did a lot of writing and reading.

This is Ernest 's home office.

A close up of the desk shows shotgun shells and high powered rifle shells

And more heads.

Here is Ernest's bathroom with toilet, full bookshelf. and typewriter on top of bookshelf in case Ernest got the urge to write.

Guest bedroom.

Formal dining area. I feel like I'm listing a home. I can see it now; "Cute, must see property in lovely communist country overlooking the bay"

A view to Havana

Zooming in on the Havana skyline.

Zooming in further still

Check out this flower

Lovely indeed

Another flowering tree

Close-up shots courtesy of Mike Webber

Nice head

Another flower

A view to the back of the house

The property has a tower which contains Ernest Hemmingway's writing office.

There's a painting of Ernest the hunter

We continue the tour to find Ernest's boat

First we pass the pool which is undergoing a bit of a touch up. I talked to the workers (through Monica) and they said the property is getting prepared for a Hollywood movie production

We are getting closer to the boat

Thar she be

It's a 42' Wheeler

All wood construction


Ernest's chair

Pilar was given by Ernest to the captain he employed during his time in Havana. The nice on site lady told us the captain then "donated" the boat to the Cuban government

This statue of Ernest and a game fish was a gift from a European friend

Starboard side view of Pilar. She sits on what was once the tennis courts

Jenée and Monica strike a pose at the banyon tree

Smile ladies

This is a graveyard for Ernest's dogs. I'm guessing Ernrst liked dogs better than people. Just my opinion

Ernest and Fidel everywhere

Notice anything interesting about the highway? It's empty! No traffic problems yet in Cuba

Not too far away, we visit a Cuba resort beach

Nice surf

Nice views

Next up, we'll take our tour back to Habana

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Viva Cuba!

Now comes the pretty part of our tour in Old Town Habana.

Very pretty

Colorful buildings

Lots to see

Including outdoor shops


Monica walking with Manolo - our driver and guide.

There they are.

Very nice

Old Town square

View of the Spanish fort - built 1577

Looking around

The fort

This is the lucky tree. You make a wish as you walk around the tree 3 times. I wished for world peace, but forgot to walk around the damn tree!

Another view of the fort. We will go over there later.

The park

Truckin' along with my peeps.

Lots of work to be done

One is a statue and one is a mannequin.

The church.

Simon Bolivar - great Cuban patriot, born in Venzuela.

San Francisco train station

Former presidents train car - weighs 40 tons.

The Plaza Vieja is undergoing a complete renovation. It was in complete disrepair back in the 1970's.

Plaza Vieja is looking much better

Restored building.

An example of before and after

Another view

And more work to be done.

Ahh, what have we here? A local pub.

This will work.

The band is playing.

We look a little dry here - we could use some help. The tide has run out I see.

Great band

Oh yeah, Captain Jimbo

Monica y Miguel

Strolling into Old Town

Let's see. Which way are we going?

Cubano Cafe

Can't see the mural, but it's nice.

Good ole Simon

Another cafe

Pretty streets

And parks

We go to the fortress for closing ceremonies.

Beginning in 1577, Habana was completely enclosed within the fortress walls. A cannon is fired every night at 9 PM to signal closing of the fortress doors and the closing in of the city.

We approach the outside walls and the cannon.

Lighting of the cannon. I wasn't quite ready for the report of the cannon - ouch! The fortress and city walls are now gone, so access is granted after 9 PM.

Our driver takes us to this fantastic restaurant under the stars.

Mike and Monica are smiling because we are sitting at Beyoncés table. She was here recently. Turns out it is the restaurant of the stars. Much like us.

We like the musicians playing behind us. Tonight it's goat on the menu. Opah!

We go back to our apartment and decide to checkout a nightclub nearby. They were playing very cool Cuban Salsa - arriba! This fine lady was at a table near us. The waiter came to her and gave her the microphone. She sang all the way to the stage - kinda like a funky Ella Fitzgerald.

It took her a while, but the ole gal could rock! Great time, great night - more to come from Cuba. Next up is the home of Ernest Hemmingway, just as he left it when he left Cuba in 1959 before the revolution. Adios amigos.