We were fortunate to have recently taken a cruise that gave us a day in Havana, Cuba. Long closed to visiting Americans, we were welcomed with open arms by the people of this beautiful island. While there are visions of a long ago hey day of the 1950s still to be seen, the city and her people show how resilient they are in the face of difficulty. There is beauty everywhere, with rich historical significance as well as new construction. We would love to go back and stay for a longer visit.
The view of the harbor is spectacular in the morning sunrise as a statue of Christ welcomes ships to port. The Colon Cemetery was a highlight of our visit. Cubans do not pay for funerals at the Colon Chapel or internment in the crypts, they only pay for flowers. The crypts are reused with previous users being place in catacombs under the cemetery to make way for the newly dead. There is only so much space on an island. The workmanship of the Italian Carrara marble monuments is some of the finest I have ever seen. The park like atmosphere reminded me of ancient cemeteries where the living “visited” their lost loved ones.
Street markets are a common site as well as American Classic Cars from the late 50s. Most of these cars a lovingly cared for and used as taxis or for private tours. Revolution Square is a large central gathering place for events like the recent funeral of Fidel Castro. There are permanent reminders of the “revolution” everywhere as well as centuries old structures like the fort that guarded against pirates in the 1500s.
The locals are proud of their history as well as their newly constructed Capitol Building and elegant Grand Theater. My husband and I are very glad we were able to see this wonderful city and meet some of her warm, welcoming people.