Friday, 6 December 2013

6th December, 2013
(via e-mail)
Dear Lois, Robert, Llyris and Joan,

Thank you very much for your kind words and for the blog, we do feel encouraged and more committed to excellence when our clients give us such a feed back.

I guess you understood the complexity of the Cuban travel services’ system, and focused more on the good things and the unique values my island has ( its people above all, but also a colourful culture and idiosyncrasy resulting of a very rich history ).
Making travel arrangements for people like you, is always the most rewarding task in our job. You have got the spirit of the real travelers, you carry the flag with the heritage of the greatest are the kind of travelers that make the difference, the ones that connect different cultures, customs and knowledge between human societies and worlds. This is the ultimate purpose of travel, and unfortunately not everybody understand it. Thanks for coming to my country, and thanks for integrating with my people to learn and teach at the same time.
By the way, I have just learned about the passing away of Nelson Mandela. I think we humans are far from being perfect, but he was in my opinion a very honest person, devoted to what he believed in, and above all...devoted to build a great nation including all its people. I am sure your beautiful country will carry on with the task of reconciliation and integration, and will continue to impress the world with a project of such magnitude.
One last thing, I kindly ask for your permission to put part of your email in our website testimonials section, including a link to your blog. Please tell me if this OK.

Receive my warmest regards and consider us at your absolute disposal any time,

Best wishes,

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Cuban Architecture

One of the many features of Cuban architecture is the harmonious juxtaposition of different architectural styles, displayed by an impressive collection of buildings authored by both world famous local and international architects.

The uniqueness and appeal of Cuban architecture stems not only from its quality but also from its scale. Regardless of the style, Cuban architecture is uniquely Cuban and adaptive to the Cuban enviroment and experence as seen in its adaption to the climatic conditions of the island as demonstrated by the porches and galleries of the palaces, homes and public buildings which provide the necessary shelter from the sun and the rain but whose style reflect the rhythm of the music and the vibrancy of Cuba’s street life.

Cuban architecture boasts every style from the Renaissance as shown in the colonial stone fortresses, through the Moorish style of homes and palaces which testify to the eight century presence of the Moors in Spain, to the Baroque style of palaces and churches. Cuban architecture reflects the Neoclassic, the Eclectic, the Art Nouveau or Catalonian Modernism, the Art Déco and Streamline Moderne style influenced by South Beach in Miami, New York City and France, and Modern Architecture embraced since the mid 1940s.

Havana, a world recognized Caribbean Metropolis with European influences, was spared the damage of the global urban renewal and overdevelopment of the second half of the 20th century it maintains intact its traditional urban fabric which together with the famous preservation efforts grant the city a great attraction for architects, artists, historians, and lovers of harmony and beauty.

Source: Sr. Julio Cesar Perez – Arquitecto y Urbanista

Whilst I have pinched the text from the internet, all the photos were taken by Llyris Berry, Joan Mauchline, Rob Stock and Lois Kuhle. Forgive me the visual overload, but there is so much architectural delight in Cuba!


Note the famous Hotel Nacional on the left of the picture
 The Park View Hotel (where we stayed)

 The recently renovated Sloppy Joes

 Floridita - Hemingway's haunt

Sancti spiritus
 The Yayabo Bridge - said to have been made with goat's milk to strenghten it 

Santiego de Cuba



The revolution in the late 50’s has had profound effect on Cuba and its people. It infuses every aspect of their life, and posters, squares, statues herald Che and the various heroes. It is impossible to travel around Cuba without being reminded of the revolution – that happened over 60 years ago!

Source Wikipedia:
The Cuban Revolution (1953–1959) was an armed revolt conducted by Fidel Castro's 26th of July Movement and its allies against the government of Cuban President Fulgencio Batista. The revolution began in July 1953, and finally ousted Batista on 1 January 1959, replacing his government with a revolutionary socialist state. The Movement organisation later reformed along communist lines, becoming the Communist Party in October 1965. The Communist Party, now headed by Castro's brother Raúl, continues to govern Cuba today.
The Cuban Revolution had great domestic and international repercussions; in particular, it reshaped Cuba's relations with the United States, which continues an embargo against Cuba as of 2013. In the immediate aftermath of the revolution, Castro's government began a program of nationalization and political consolidation that transformed Cuba's economy and civil society. The revolution also heralded an era of Cuban intervention into foreign military conflicts, including the Angolan Civil War and Nicaraguan Revolution.

Ernesto "Che" Guevara 
(June 14, 1928 – October 9, 1967), commonly known as el Che or simply Che, was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, guerrilla leader, diplomat, and military theorist. A major figure of the Cuban Revolution, his stylized visage has become a ubiquitous countercultural symbol of rebellion and global insignia within popular culture.

The Cuban Flag

En route to Cayo Coco
 Memorial in Cienfeugos for the Angolan soliders

In and around Havana where tributes to the Revolution seemed the most prolific

 Santa Clara

Santiego de Cuba

 In the hotel in Varadero