Slept fairly well in our king-sized bed at
Hotel Melia Cohiba and woke refreshed at 6AM.Showered, dressed and enjoyed a delicious full first-class
breakfast in the hotelís expansive dining room.Eggs, fish, meats, cheeses, juices, and coffees in a
multitude of varieties were available and we made good use of them.
Breakfast at Hotel Melia Cohiba
On the bus at 8:30AM, Hermes drove us through
the busy narrow streets to Habana Viejo (Old Havana) where a young
knowledgeable guide named Daniel introduced us to some of the
architecture, history and problems of this antiquated, beautiful and
quaint area.Spanish and
Moorish influences are evident all around us, mixed with modern art
and Catholic cathedrals.
Daniel, our guide in Old Havana
Carol with a character in Old Havana
At 10:30 it was time to board the bus again for
a ten minute ride to a day-care center where a group of adorable
pre-schoolers serenaded us as their caretakers showed us their
facility, which exists due to the charity of the Church and
Bonnie autographs her book at the pre-school in Havana
Next stop was the impressive
botanical gardens where a young supervisor guided us among
chocolate orchids, bromeliads, pear trees, vegetable gardens and a
hummingbird nest with two tiny newborns.
At the botanicalgardens we enjoyed a delicious lunch of grilled
fish, rice, beans, fried plantains, bread, grilled vegetables, soda
and sugared papaya.
Lunch at the botanical gardens in Havana
After lunch Hermes drove us to the magnificent
estate and house owned by Ernest Hemingway.As always, along the way Bob and Ramiro provided us with
valuable information and tips of what to look for once we arrived
there (you canít enter the house but you can peek in the windows.)After touring the house and the grounds I spent a wonderful
twenty minutes practicing my Spanish with Hermes, a warm and
beautiful man who patiently and gently corrected my many mistakes.
Surrounded by beauties (Marney and Lindsay) at the Hemingway House
Extracting sweet juice from sugar cane at the Hemingway House in
With Ben and Ken at the Hemingway House in Havana
We spent about an hour and a half at the
Hemingway estate and then Hermes kindly (it was not on his required
schedule) dropped a few of us off at the massive (and incredibly
schlocky) indoor souvenir market near Havanaís canal.Hermes generously offered to pick us up at 5:30PM (on his
time off) so we would not have to pay for a taxi.Carol and I fell in love with Hermes and we miss him to this
We arrived back at the Hotel Melia Chohiba at
6PM to shower and rest, then met Mike, Annettte, Mary Caye, Jerry
and Doris in the lobby.
The plan was to walk two blocks to Atelier, a restaurant that Bob
had suggested, but when we arrived we were told that we needed a
reservation. We checked out another nearby eatery but the gang
decided to select one of the several restaurant in our hotel.We selected La Piazza and had a very tasty Pizza ai Pesco de
Mar.At one point there
were two short, very dark, power outages, which apparently are not
uncommon in Havana.We
very much enjoyed schmoozing with our new friends and then said
Buenos Noches.Mike and
Annette went to explore the Malecon, Doris went to her room as did
Jerry and Mary Caye.
Oscar and Miriam stepping out for an evening in Havana
Carol and I decided to sit in one of the hotel
bars and sipped on Mojitos as I savored a delicious Cohiba Robusto.A very enjoyable hour as we watched the young hookers strut
from table to table displaying their assets.
At 10PM we took the elevator to our room on the
seventh floor and fell into bed after another full day of adventures
in fabulous Havana.