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Tuesday, 13 July 2004
Malecon - unrenovated glory

Havana Malecon

This is another photo taken along the Malecon during a ride in a coco-taxi.  Most of the architecture along here is extraordinarily beautiful, as above.  Hopefully this building will be restored too.  The taxi dropped us off at the craft market near the castle, and the cathedral, and the cost was very reasonable.  Each time we took a taxi we discussed a price with the driver before embarking on the journey. The guidebooks suggest this and also give you a guideline of expected costs for different journeys between different districts of Havana.

Posted by bigblue on 13/07/2004 at 08:41 PM
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Monday, 12 July 2004
Malecon - renovated block

Havana Malecon

One day the girls and I rode a coco-taxi from Vedado to Havana Vieja (and back), and this photograph was taken along the way.  These buildings are on the Malecon and face directly towards the sea. Most of the buildings on this route were very weather-beaten, but the closest ones in this photo appear to have been renovated.

Posted by bigblue on 12/07/2004 at 08:15 PM
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Sunday, 11 July 2004
Looking the other way

Havana Vedado

This photograph is also taken from the balcony of the apartment where we stayed in the Blue Building, but faces in the opposite direction.  The tall building in the distance, on the right of the photo is the Hotel Melia Cohiba, situated about a block inland from the Malecon.  It is also in the Vedado district.

Apparently, the district is named Vedado because in the early days of Havana nobody was allowed to build on this land so as not to obstruct the view of the sea from the look-out posts higher up. Most construction took place between the 1930�s and 1960�s, much of it in the Art Deco style.  In this district you find the Colon Cemetery (Columbus Cemetery, apparently one of the most artistic in the world).

The apartment in the Blue Building has air-conditioning. I don�t think we could have slept comfortably without it.  There were the occasional power failures, but these were of short duration.  The apartment has two bedrooms, and my daughters slept in one and I in the other. There is also a kitchen, lounge, bathroom and the terrace from which these photographs were taken.

As Carles commented the other day, I think a lot of people anticipate that there will be big changes in the country when Castro dies. Personally I hope that any changes will bring the most good to the most people. 

There is speculation about some of the changes to come in this reflective Guardian article, No more bets.

Posted by bigblue on 11/07/2004 at 01:57 PM
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Saturday, 10 July 2004
In search of ... The Blue Building

Havana The Blue Building

In Havana we stayed in the Blue Building. This is a privately owned apartment, in a residential area of Havana (Vedado), a few blocks from the western end of the Malecon (sea front promenade).  Habana Vieja is on the eastern end of the Malecon.

We arrived at midnight one night, and this is the view from the terrace that greeted us in the light of day the next morning.

I can�t bring up the website of the owners of the apartment, but it used to be here.  However I found it in the Way Back Archive, and from there managed to find a link to Cuba Accomodation where they are still listed.  What you miss out on in the new website are all the touching comments left by previous guests that could be found in their GeoCities guestbook.

On an unrelated topic, I found a funny Bush-Blair video, entitled Read My Lips.

Posted by bigblue on 10/07/2004 at 02:09 PM
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Habana Vieja

Habana Vieja

I took this photo on the outskirts of Plaza de la Catedral in Old Havana, and it’s a typical street scene showing buskers and shops.  The plaza itself is the central tourist hub of Old Havana, but these photos were taken on a “quiet day”.

I forgot to mention yesterday that the bones of Christopher Columbus were removed from the Cathedral after the revolution and taken to Santo Domingo. Later it was discovered that they were not his real remains.  Well of course.

Posted by bigblue on 10/07/2004 at 12:04 AM
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Thursday, 08 July 2004
Catedral de la Virgen Maria de la Concepcion Inmaculada

Havana Cathedral

This is the Havana Cathedral, which was built between 1748 and 1777 (with a short break in 1767 when the Jesuits were expelled from Spain and her overseas territories). It was designated a Cathedral in 1787, and housed the remains of Christopher Columbus between 1796 and 1898 It is a fine example of the Cuban baroque style of architecture found in Habana Vieja (Old Havana). This area of Havana was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982, and is in the process of being restored to glory.  I took this photo, two years ago, from the museum at the opposite end of Plaza de la Catedral.
There is information about the work being done at this World Heritage site at the UNESCO website.

Posted by bigblue on 08/07/2004 at 07:23 PM
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