|starts at||9:00 a.m.|
|sights to see||Capitolio, National Theater, Louvre Sidewalk, Sevilla Hotel, Cathedral Square, The Cathedral, The Museum of Colonial Art, The Main Square (Plaza de las Armas), The Palace of the Spanish governors in Cuba, The Castle of the Royal Forces,San Francisco Square, the Franciscan Convent, the Fountain with the lions, Plaza Vieja, the Playing Cards Museum, the House of the Representatives, Railcar “Mambi”, Oficios Street, Obispo Street, “La Floridita”, “O’Reily” Street, El Malecon on Prado.|
|breaks||Lunch break, one coffee (cocktail) break|
|price||80 Euro (group of 3) to 60 Euro (group of 7)|
|price includes||All the entrance fees, lunch (shrimp and lobster salad, lobster tail, cocktail, beer), one more cocktail (soft drink, coffee, rum), a bottle of mineral water|
This trip is designed to suit the more concentrated and “museum minded” visitors of Havana that would prefer to spend their day in Havana Vieja than dividing it between the abundant opportunities offered by the multi-colored, multi-cultural, multi-national and multi-traditional Havana. Nevertheless we will refrain from turning it into an ABC (Another Bloody Church) Program and will add a good portion of sitting, tasting and enjoying to the traditional walking, seeing and listening.
1. Starting time – 9:00 a.m. Starting place – the Monument of the Indian Woman (Noble Havana) near the Capitolio.
2. We start walking down “Teniente Rey” street heading for Plaza Vieja. On our way we will pass by the Square of the Christ and will visit the Museum of Havana’s Pharmacies to enjoy its really rich and colorful atmosphere and feel some of the mixture of late Spanish and early Cuban times of Havana. Next to it is the School of Jose de la Luz y Caballero – one of the major creators of the Cuban identity and self-consciousness.
3. We will reach Plaza Vieja (the Old Square). The joke is that its original name was Plaza Nueva (the New Square) because it was created in result of the complaints of the Franciscan monks about the noise made by the merchants in San Francisco Square. There we will have a look at the splendid houses of the Havana aristocracy from the classical Spanish times.
4. The museum that we are going to visit there is the Playing Cards Museum. Not that it is very rich or there are any exclusive samples but the playing cards is a significant symbol of the Havana life style and will give a well needed touch of light heartedness to our tour.
5. Then down “Muralla” street we will turn right the “Oficios” street, will pass along the house where Alexander von Humboldt was residing and will reach the House of Barreto to witness the incredible story of the brave, mad Portugese who deserved his aristocratic title during the British invasion of Havana.
6. On our way back along “Oficios” we will visit the House of Representatives to get involved into the surrounding of the stormy, lustful and often bloody events of the early years of the Cuban republic.
7. The cherry of the cocktail will be our next stop – the ultra-luxurious railway car that was used by the early presidents of Cuba for their electoral campaigns. God knows why it was called the “Mambi” (the rebels against the Spanish government) if the mambi used to live on canchanchara (an explosive mixture of aguardiente, honey and lemon) and his only property was the horse and the machete.
8. Continuing up “Oficios” we will reach San Francisco Square full of things that really are a must but, anyway, we cannot stay there all day long and we will limit our attention to:
9. Passing along the Stock Exchange we will follow on “Oficios” and soon will reach the Main Square (Plaza de las Armas). Here used to be the center of the political, financial and military power of Spanish Havana and Spanish Cuba.
10. We will visit (providing that are open for public):
11. Enough is enough. We are feeling dizzy, the mouth is dry, our legs are crying for a break and soon they will have it. Up “Obispo” street is waiting our beautiful, old style restaurant with a cocktail at the bar while the shrimp salad and the lobster tail are getting cooked and the nice Cuban beer is getting its “vestido de novia” (bride’s vail) because in Cuba they drink the beer ice-cold. There will be a large portion of the divine Cuban music, there will be professional dancing and a large variety of nationalities, colors, ages around you.
12. Some more entertainment – hundred meters up “Obispo” streets there is a small but colorful souvenir market where you can buy something to remind you your stay in Havana.
13. Back to the squares. This time is the Cathedral Square. We will reach it following “O’Reily” street, just for a change and to see some part of the not so touristic Havana. There is so much to see in the Cathedral Square:
14. Then following “Tacon” street we will reach the Monument of Maximo Gomez, one of the most prominent figures of the Cuban Independence Wars and next to it the touching Monument of the Eight Students shot by a Spanish firing squad.
15. And we are at one of the marking points of Havana – the crossing of Prado and Malecon. From there the fortresses that were built to guard the port of Havana can be seen but the really marvelous view is the magnificent Malecon stretching far, far away – to Vedado and further.
16. But we chose to concentrate on Havan Vieja so we are not going to take the Malecon challenge but will rather follow the Prado direction. Prado, of course, is marvelous and on our way we will visit the famous and colorful residence of the US gangster elite from the mafia “golden times” – Hotel Sevilla. We will pass along the Spanish Club of Havana (now Palace of Matrimonies), the ballet school of Alicia Alonso, Hotel Inglaterra and will sit in the Louvre Café for a well-deserved break, well-deserved cocktail and enjoying the beautiful Cuban music we still continue our tour watching the colorful croud busying itself along “San Rafael” on Prado – the fastest growing shopping area from the late Spanish and early Cuban times.
17. Then we will be stunned by the imperial image of the National Theater, the grave and still elegant view of the Capitol and may be you will gather your last forces to hear the story about the unhappy diamonds of Estefano, marking the zero point of the Capitol, mysteriously stolen and then mysteriously found during the time of Grau San Martin.
18. And the snake bit its tail – we are back at the Monument of Havana Noble, the trip is over, you sigh with relief, but later on you will enjoy remembering it.
19. The price depends on the size of the group – 80 Euro for a group of three to 60 Euro for a group of seven.
20. The price covers all the entrance fees, the lunch, the drinks and the musician fees.