Saturday, 23 September 2017

Habana Baby!

We had three days in Havana...and boy, did we put that time to good use.
So sit back and relax as the next few weeks will feature our time walking around the streets of old and new Havana.

The first challenge was to drop our hire car off at the rental counter, right in the centre of the city, near Parque Central and Capitolio Nacional.
Mr Seasons careful planning, my navigational skills and Maps Me got us there with a minimum of kerfuffle and stress. It was a pleasure to be back on foot, strolling and wandering to our heart's content.

Parque Central is a beautiful green haven along the Prado (Paseo de Marti). It was full of tourists, buses and old cars lovingly restored. Surrounding it where many beautifully renovated buildings.

La Manzana de Gomez 1910 - recently restored to its former glory by a Swiss hotel group.

Hotel Telegrafo was founded in1860 on another site but rebuilt here in 1911.
It was considered to be one of the most modern hotel of it's time with telephones for international calls in every room and on every table in the restaurant.

Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes

The marble Jose Marti statue 1905 in the middle of the park was the first statue of thousands erected in Marti's honour throughout Cuba.

Capitolio Nacional was built after WWI by the US-backed dictator Gerardo Machado.
It's a slightly taller with more extravagant detail version of the US Capitol building.
Formerly it was the seat of the Cuban Congress, but since the revolution it housed the Cuban Academy of Sciences.

Set in the floor directly beneath the dome is a copy of 24 carat diamond.
All highway distances throughout Cuba are measured from this point.

It is being restored to once again act as the seat of Cuban government.

Gran Teatro de la Habana - a neobaroque Galacian social club built in 1907-1914.
It is one of the world's largest opera houses.

Sala Polivalente - one of the 67 facilities especially built for the 1991 Pan-American Games. 
It was named after Eligio Sardiñas, also known as Kid Chocolate, Cuba’s finest amateur boxer.
 The facility was constructed on the site of a former hotel.
 It retains the original façade of the old building. 
The playing court is on the second floor, one of the few such courts in the world.

Local street behind Capitolio Nacional

Next week we stroll down the Prado.
This post is part of Saturday Snapshot.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Vinales, Cuba

The town of Vinales was founded in 1607, and as it's name suggests, it started off life as a vineyard.
It's a small rural town with rows of one storey colonial homes while characteristic arcades front the buildings in the main shopping area.

We spotted plenty of old cars and horses and carts as we walked around the streets of Vinales.
It was a very colourful, relaxed experience.

We spent quiet a bit of time relaxing in these lovely rocking chairs.
At the end of the day, we'd bring out our books and a beer and watch the sun set while the neighbours walked by. We may have tried a Cuban cigar as well! One was enough.

This post is part of Saturday Snapshot.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Peace Offering Bali-style

Canang sari is one of the daily offerings made by Balinese Hindus to thank the Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa in praise and prayer. Canang sari will be seen in the Balinese temples (pura), on small shrines in houses, and on the ground or as a part of a larger offering. (Wikipedia)
This is my second visit to Bali. There is something very appealing and comforting about the canang sari offerings. There's the hope for peace, the splash of colour, the smell of incense  but the most important element to me is the moment in time.

For a few brief, but focused minutes each day, the Balinese remind us that right now is the most important time we have. In fact it's the only time we have.

We cannot live time backwards or in the future. We can have memories & plans, but they both change all the time.

The only time is now.

May you all be at peace today.