After two weeks of travel, I arrived in Havana and settled down for the next two months. With a population of 2.1 million, the capital is a sprawling city of many boroughs although most tourists never leave the areas of Habana Veija (the historic centre), Centro, and Vedado and a few venture to or stay in the boroughs of Playa and Miramar.
With its beautiful colonial architecture including many impressive concert halls and theatres, the eight kilometre long Malecon, the blaring engines of classic American cars cruising the streets, many with new Russian or even Japanese interiors - it is not a surprise that Havana is a must-see destination for many visitors, even if it is just for day-trip from Varadero.
During my stay, I lived in the house of Jose and Carmina Luis (a casa particular) very close to the Plaza de Revolution. My casa was a short distance from Vedado and Centro Havana, and a 10 minute ride in a Cuban Taxi (maquina) to the historic center. I was constantly impressed at how much energy Jose and Carmina have given their ages, he turned 80 during my stay and Carmina turns 72 this year. Jose was always up at 7 AM getting breakfast ready and Carmina would be up at the same time, because she still works full-time!
They took great care of me and it felt like I had Cuban grandparents for 2 months. Riki a former travel journalist from Hong Kong also stayed with us for two weeks, and Dilek a tour guide in Istanbul came to study for a month - it was always fun to have others to chat with in the house. I divided my days between Spanish, dance and percussion classes, and most evenings I would go out to dance - tough life I know!
Below are some photos of some areas in near my house: my casa, my flat mates, my good friend Mariska, who I went dancing with each night, and some other photos in the city and its markets