Visiting Cuba – Day 3


img_1175

Oh, what a day we had to say: getting up in the morning after another noisy night we figured out that it was heavily raining and the temperature dropped down to 18 °C. Still very warm compared to the winter temperatures back in Europe (around 0 °C) but unexpected and surprising. The wind was blowing in from the East over the Atlantic and there was noch sign, that this weather situation would change shortly.

Without an umbrella or even raincoat we had to make up our minds to do something interesting that might make our day. The Hotel Nacional was on our to-do-list, so we decided to take a taxi to get there. All taxi-drivers have been trying to grab our attention, but we picked the first one, negotiated the fare (6 CUC) and got into an old Lada car. The driver was quite proud of his car, but the wipers didn’t work and he tried to find his way by looking through the rain-wet windshield. In another big city this would have scared us to death but here: The traffic was unexpected low and – because of the fact that we were driving over the six-lane Malecón – no trouble could be seen. When he stopped at a red light, he opened the front door window and moved the wipers by hand. You see, from time to time we got something to see in front of us. But we’ve made it to the Hotel Nacional without an accident.

The Hotel Nacional de Cuba is one of Cuba’s most iconic hotels. It combines the features of an old Las Vegas Strip hotel with a picturesque Havana location and has hosted a range of famous visitors, particularly screen idols from Hollywood’s golden years. Several historical rooms have been preserved and can be viewed on free guest tours. If you like great entertainment, beautiful views and the idea of strolling in the same beautifully kept gardens once enjoyed by Hollywood royalty, you should try this hotel. Every Saturday from 4pm till 8pm the vintage car and bike club, Amigos de Fangio, show-off their treasures, below the Hotel Nacional.

img_1166

We’ve spent some time at the bar area where a picture gallery shows many celebreties who visited this place before. You might get the feeling that the time didn’t move forward. But when you do look closely you will see that the old Wurlitzer Jukebox does have a CD changer installed and the picture gallery is updated with new photographs of late visitors.

img_4565

Then we explored the hotel and the gardens – although it was raining. But who really cares about rain when he is on vacation? It’s a kind of unexpected break and can be “wonderful”.

When we got out off the Hotel Nacional we walked to the nearby Restaurant 21 Bar to have lunch. The service was excellent as the food, too. Waiting for the rain to stop pouring from the sky, we decided to take a taxi back home to our B&B. This ride was a kind of tricky: We had to enter the opposite the restaurant located Hotel Capri to ask the doorman to get a taxi for us. Almost 15 minutes later it arrived and we jumped into the car with an unfriendly relatively old driver. He found his way back to our B&B and we had to pay double the price we’d payed for the way to the Nacional. Because of the fact that taxi drivers don’t use the taximeter, we did get trapped. A bad experience but obviously our fault. We should have asked before entering the car – or we should have argued with the taxi driver. But then our Spanish needs to be better otherwise we wouldn’t have a chance to “win” the arguement battle. My recommendation is: Learn some Spanish before you fly to Cuba. In travel guide books it’s said that many people do speak English or even German but … The truth is: Most of the locals speak only a Spanish with a dialect colour in it. You definitely need to get used to it.

Back at our B&B we got some rest before we went to Castas & Tal on Galliano #51 esquina San Lázaro for dinner where we did have very tasteful dishes and excellent wines.

Oh, what a day we had to say: getting up in the morning after another noisy night we figured out that it was heavily raining and the temperature dropped down to 18 °C. Still very warm compared to the winter temperatures back in Europe (around 0 °C) but unexpected and surprising. The wind was blowing in from the East over the Atlantic and there was noch sign, that this weather situation would change shortly.

Without an umbrella or even raincoat we had to make up our minds to do something interesting that might make our day. The Hotel Nacional was on our to-do-list, so we decided to take a taxi to get there. All taxi-drivers have been trying to grab our attention, but we picked the first one, negotiated the fare (6 CUC) and got into an old Lada car. The driver was quite proud of his car, but the wipers didn’t work and he tried to find his way by looking through the rain-wet windshield. In another big city this would have scared us to death but here: The traffic was unexpected low and – because of the fact that we were driving over the six-lane Malecón – no trouble could be seen. When he stopped at a red light, he opened the front door window and moved the wipers by hand. You see, from time to time we got something to see in front of us. But we’ve made it to the Hotel Nacional without an accident.

The Hotel Nacional de Cuba is one of Cuba’s most iconic hotels. It combines the features of an old Las Vegas Strip hotel with a picturesque Havana location and has hosted a range of famous visitors, particularly screen idols from Hollywood’s golden years. Several historical rooms have been preserved and can be viewed on free guest tours. If you like great entertainment, beautiful views and the idea of strolling in the same beautifully kept gardens once enjoyed by Hollywood royalty, you should try this hotel. Every Saturday from 4pm till 8pm the vintage car and bike club, Amigos de Fangio, show-off their treasures, below the Hotel Nacional.

img_1166

We’ve spent some time at the bar area where a picture gallery shows many celebreties who visited this place before. You might get the feeling that the time didn’t move forward. But when you do look closely you will see that the old Wurlitzer Jukebox does have a CD changer installed and the picture gallery is updated with new photographs of late visitors.

img_4565

Then we explored the hotel and the gardens – although it was raining. But who really cares about rain when he is on vacation? It’s a kind of unexpected break and can be “wonderful”.

When we got out off the Hotel Nacional we walked to the nearby Restaurant 21 Bar to have lunch. The service was excellent as the food, too. Waiting for the rain to stop pouring from the sky, we decided to take a taxi back home to our B&B. This ride was a kind of tricky: We had to enter the opposite the restaurant located Hotel Capri to ask the doorman to get a taxi for us. Almost 15 minutes later it arrived and we jumped into the car with an unfriendly relatively old driver. He found his way back to our B&B and we had to pay double the price we’d payed for the way to the Nacional. Because of the fact that taxi drivers don’t use the taximeter, we did get trapped. A bad experience but obviously our fault. We should have asked before entering the car – or we should have argued with the taxi driver. But then our Spanish needs to be better otherwise we wouldn’t have a chance to “win” the arguement battle. My recommendation is: Learn some Spanish before you fly to Cuba. In travel guide books it’s said that many people do speak English or even German but … The truth is: Most of the locals speak only a Spanish with a dialect colour in it. You definitely need to get used to it.

Back at our B&B we got some rest before we went to Castas & Tal on Galliano #51 esquina San Lázaro for dinner where we did have very tasteful dishes and excellent wines.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s