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Cuba Day 5 – 5/7

Cuba Day 5, began with breakfast however we were unable to make breakfast at the Airbnb.  We had to make other arrangements because we could not get the stove to work.  So we had to go with Plan B.  Instead,  we showered and grabbed a cab to Havana Libre and had breakfast.  The hotel has a breakfast buffet for $10 CUC.  The Breakfast includes an omelet station and all the breakfast goodies.  After breakfast, I went out on the terrace to take pictures of the hotel pool area.  It is very nice and has loungers and conversation areas.   Before leaving on the City Tour we grabbed bottled water for the day.  We met up with the Tour operator and began the tour.

Habana Libre Hotel

Havana Libre Hotel

Food from the $10 Breakfast at the Havana Libre Hotel

$10 Breakfast at the Havana Libre Hotel. An omelet, assorted sausages, bacon, potatoes, fresh fruit, champagne, and mimosa.

Cuba Day 5 City Tour

Picture of the buildings that make up Revolution Square

The buildings at Revolution Square

The City Tour took us all around key historic sites of Havana.  We visited Old Havana and New Havana including Revolution Square, Art Square, San Francisco de Asis.  Our Guide told us the history and significance of each place.  We traveled around by van and then spent about 1.5 hours walking.  Each stop we paused for pictures.  I took lots of pictures and got some good video.  You can see it on the YouTube Channel and on Facebook.

San Francisco in Cuba

Arts & Craft Outdoor Market

Vendors at an outdoor market in Cuba

Vendors at an outdoor market in Cuba

During our pause, we did do some shopping and picked up some souvenirs for ourselves and some friends.  The tour was •     4 hours from 9:30 AM until 1:30 PM.  At the end of the tour the gave 3 options.  Option 1 was to stay in San Francisco de Asis and continue with a self-guided tour.  The 2nd Option was to go back to the hotel that you were picked up at.  Option 3, the one we picked was to go to a Privado Paladar which is a private restaurant. (Meaning not owned or operated by the Cuban government)

Lunch after the Tour on 

The restaurant was El Canonza.  It is a very nice open air restaurant (no roof) with parts of the restaurant covered.  The restaurant featured live music during lunch.  Nikki and I were joined by 4 others from the tour.  Nikki had fish with garlic and almonds.  I had  Gumbo (Not what you are thinking).  The gumbo was really a seafood platter that consisted of lobster tail, shrimp and fish all grilled.  The table was given rice and black beans to share.

El Canonza restaurant in Cuba.

El Canonza restaurant in Cuba.

The food was very good.  I would recommend this restaurant.  The prices were reasonable.  Nikki’s fish was $16 and my “gumbo” was $19.  Nikki had a 7 Up to drink and I had a Coca Cola.  We enjoyed our meals and the atmosphere of the restaurant.  After lunch, our tour guide and our taxi driver met up with us to take us back to the Havana Libre hotel where they picked us up.

Gumbo from El Canonza

Cuban Gumbo from El Canonza

Fish from El Canonza in Cuba

Fish from El Canonza

After Lunch

Once back at the hotel, we decided to do some quick shopping.  There were some shops nearby that we wanted to stop at.  Nikki bought some jewelry.  We decided to walk back to the Airbnb.  It was only about 1.5 miles.  We knew the way from this morning’s cab ride.  Plus it would give us an opportunity to distribute a few of the gifts we brought for the Cuban Children.  We came across 2 children playing on steps in front of an apartment building.  There was an adult present so we stopped.

Barbie dolls from the US

Barbie dolls

We gave the little girl a Barbie We gave the little boy a Hot Wheels car.  They were brother and sister.  He looked like he was 4 and his sister looked like she was 7.  She was afraid to take it.  There was an adult present who I think now may have been the big sister and not the Mom.  It was hard to tell.

Balls from the US for Cuban Children

Balls from the US for Cuban Children

Giving Balls to Cuban Children

We walked a few blocks more and came upon a park.  This was the right place.  We say a group of boys playing soccer with a basketball.  I stopped and took out my air pump.  Then I took out a soccer ball and put air into it.  I then chose the boy who was closest to me to give him the ball.  I told him it was his to keep!  We were able to videotape the kids playing with the ball.  A gift from the United States.

I deflated 2 soccer and 1 basketball to fit into my luggage.  Brought a small pump with me to inflate them once we were here. I actually gave the other soccer ball away yesterday to the host of our Airbnb.  He had a boy who was 9 who plays.  He was very pleased to get a real soccer ball to give to his Son.  The young man who we gave the ball to actually followed us.  We were about 1 block away from the Airbnb when I heard him calling out to us.  He wanted to say “Gracious” (thank you).  Nikki told him “El pelota es tuyo”.  (it’s your ball).  She wanted him to know that he did not have to give the ball back.    That warmed my heart.

 

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Bill Collins

Bill Collins is a former Army Officer turned veteran traveler. I have traveled to 28 different Countries mainly concentrated in the Central & Latin America and have spent the last 16 years exploring the Caribbean Islands.

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