Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Que Paso

About an hour after checking into Cuba, we talked to other Salty Dawgs and were soon on our way to check out Habana Viejo (Old Havana).  We hit the hot spots like Plaza Catedral, Hotel Nacional, Bodeguito del Medio, and the Floridita.  We learned about Ernest Hemingway’s favorite bars, his participation in “inventing” the daiquiri, and how dignitaries and celebrities spend their time in Cuba.  It was quite the tour and a great introduction to the city.  That evening Marina Hemingway welcomed the Salty Dawgs with a fun reception party that included mojitos, cuba libres, and traditional Cuban appetizers.  By time we made it back to Terrapin, we were exhausted – Baxter had been up since his watch that morning at 3:30am.  We slept well with the occasional waking and wondering where you were (after an 8-day passage, it is normal to wonder in the middle of the night why the boat’s no longer moving, or is it?)

The next day we set out to learn more about Ernest Hemingway so we took a trip to Finca de la Viaga, the house he lived in from 1939 – 1960.  It was originally built in 1887 and after his death in 1961, the house was preserved exactly as he left it.  It was very cool to see the architecture, the collection of 9,000 books and where he entertained his high profile friends and associates.  On the estate, Hemingway’s boat, the Pilar has been stored.  The black oak and bronze are beautiful features and you can just imagine reeling in a huge marlin as you sit in the chair. 

From there, we went on to Cojimo, Cuba which is the fishing village Hemingway would keep his boat in the water with quick access to the ocean. In fact, Gregorio, who the character the “Old Man and the Sea” is based after, just recently passed away at age 104 and his family still lives in this village.  It was exciting to see the children and families who are still fishing and living in this town in probably the same way they did 100 years ago. 

Dinner that evening was at Santy’s - a “paladar”.  A paladar is a home that opens as a restaurant but is not a traditional restaurante.   Finding Santy’s was an adventure in itself but once you were there, it was amazing food and great company with our friends Dan, Francine, as well as Peter and Elaine on “BOB”. 

Then it was back to Terrapin – full, happy and exhausted.  It was hard to believe we had been in Cuba for two days and had so many great adventures with more on the way.

Plaza de Catedral
La Bodeguita del Medio - EH hangout
Newspaper with information regarding the death of his wife in a plane crash.
EH Desk
EH Boat - "Pilar"
Hemingway International Yacht Club - we are now officially yachtistas


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