My last trip where all begun ,Cuba !

I was asked to go to Cuba on a business trip for my company, and needed to go, I have seen it all, and not really wanted to go but business first as they say, I took advantage with my assigned driver to see the family still there , and by now the vast majority out of the country finally as told them many times, I went around with nostalgia and sadness to see what has remain. It all began there for me many many years ago. I left it in 1971, and hardly any sight pictures, the current pics in this post are from this last trip in 2012. You can see my many posts on Cuba in my blog for the real picture,,,Hope you enjoy the post as I,

I took a long flight it seems endless from home in my beautiful Morbihan 56 , went by car to Nantes airport;following the road N165 all the way to exit D201 Nantes Atlantique signs about 1h30 minutes. Then took a regional Air France flight to Amsterdam, Schiphol airport, which as today’s travel goes make you go north and then south ! I change there to KLM for the flight to La Habana about 10 hours !!! and finally arrive in Havana, very tired !

I stayed at a Casa Particular as was assigned this by the ongoings of local politics ,house in the new district of Playa,(old Miramar) no fancy hotels for me, My other collegues did stayed in the Mélia Habana Hotel,the new aparthaid ! Stories about Cuba abound from all periods; blaming each other, but no doubt the previous pre 1959 regime was better for the mayority. Proof over 2 millions have left already and several millions waiting for the opportunity while been politically correct.

Havana rogelio casa side back apr12

havana Rogelio casa particular dining room Feb12

We had not much time to see the sights ,so I took a ride by car on the Malecon, went over to the old Church of San Francisco de Asisi, the Morro , Fuerza ,and Cabanas castles (see post). Lots old history ,and sad stories of my Cuba.

havana malecon melia et riviera hotels FEb12

We had business lunch at Restaurant 1830 at Calle Calzada esq. a 20, Vedado. This was a branch of La Zaragozana that was founded, in 1830 ! It is now considered one of the best there , There was a special treat at a casa paladar on a fifth floor of a building, but could not remember the name as it was at night and friends rode me there, we had asked for lobsters supreme but not available even if was on the menu , realities of life there; at least it had a nice view of the city.  The highlight was at El Palenque, near pabexpo Cuba, and serving the Convention palace wonderful typical Cuban place and food, very nice lechon or pork with yucca,moro (blackened rice), and the local Cristal beer, It is by now a local institution, stands out as an unpretentious and authentic eating spot that attracts a large number of Cuban families and foreigners. It can be crowded and lively, but it is a great way to feel Havana at Calle 17 & Calle 190 , now Playa  For a nostalgic trip we passed by El Potin resto, (see post) my dear late Mom Gladys used to take me here as a little boy, just a sandwich and light platters place and ice cream,juice and soda drinks, still there!!! and it looks nice after all ! Inspired by French immigrants ! at Línea corner of Paseo, Vedado neighborhood of La Habana.

havana El Palenque resto playa Feb12

The next day I asked my assigned driver to take me to my native town of Punta Brava, (see post) just in the city of La Habana, visiting family aunt and cousins (which by now all left Cuba ) , I ate at a typical Cuban casa paladar in pesos nacionales, (local currency) a dish of roast pork,moros black beans,yucca,tostones in garlic sauce, salad of tomatos and lettuce, plus coffee and four beers for two persons at about 260 Cuban Pesos Nacionales. Just in Calzada (main street Avenida 51) before turning left to Guatao, on the old Carretera Central.

Punta Brava calzada to santa fe Feb12

I went further inland to visit another aunt and cousin at Cayo La Rosa, (these still there) off Bauta, this was a huge textile plant (Ariguanabo) of 5000 workers done by Mr Hedges an American from Tennessee in the 1950’s and now in ruins. The village have not change much, and took a ride with my cousin in an electric moto on the town, crazy,  but a great and cheap means of transportation there now.  And proud of myself was able to take my local driver there as he did not know how, and I did it with so many years out just on good memory lol! He was impressed !

Cayo calle 11 apr12

Of course in each visit I ate with the family and reminiscent of the old days, telling me what a nice guy I was !!!  Finally, it was time to come back again, and took my flight from La Habana Jose Marti International airport, very easily, this time in route to Paris CDG on Air France. The plane was full and cheapy company had me on economy class! But I was bump up to Business Class , by asking and it shows the difference, very nice flight of 9 hours to Paris CDG. There change again on AF to Nantes, and took my car from the airport parking for the trip home after paying 54 euros of parking fees. Cheaper than renting a car lol!

Roissy CDG T2 Pipo going to Miami aug12

I was hoping not to be the last trip to Cuba, but still that was my last probably, and no plans to be back ; time is ticking and hardly any family there, one aunt and one cousin. Even in the difficulties of that system was the same warm welcome by the family and the faces of the buildings even if change were still recognisable, and I look forward to the future when all can have a pleasant place to visit with family and no dictatorship mistreatments and abuses. It is time to put more emphasis or at least equal treatment to the holocaust and the gulag.

There you go folks, another nostalgic spot in my life and happy to be able to share it with the world. Havana goes deep with me, even if now is a distant star flicking for survival, I believe you should know these places and eventually visit in better freer times , Again, hope you enjoy the post on my last trip where it all begun ,Cuba as I

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

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