Hop on hop off bus and bears

Inside the Casa
Inside the Casa
Who needs to come downstairs when you can just lower a basket?
Who needs to come downstairs when you can just lower a basket?

Today was a completely free day but first we had to say goodbye to Mariana who was very excited to be travelling on to Senegal. Once she had gone, Deb and I walked into town, where I hopped on a double decker city tour bus whilst she went to sort out some flights.

The trip lasted about an hour and a half and took us around the suburbs as well as through the old city, along the Malecon, through Revolution Square and out to a beach where there were a number of up market hotels (although, to my mind, not in a particularly attractive area). There was a commentary but I couldn’t distinguish the words. Nevertheless, it was well worth the 5CUC and gave a different perspective of Havana. The bus itself was a little delapidated, rather like a large part of the city, with some seats that were decidedly wobbly and didn’t have any backs. Luckily, I got on when there was still a ‘normal’ seat available!

Che again
Che again

Afterwards, I wandered down Obispo street again and over towards the Cathedral, where I stopped in a craft gallery/coffee shop for a coffee and some lunch. It was a very peaceful retreat from the bustle and noise outside.

Statue outside St Francis Church - touching his beard brings you luck!
Statue outside St Francis Church – touching his beard brings you luck!
Horse in Obispo Street
Horse in Obispo Street

As I was feeling quite tired today, I decided I would have a quick stop at the Teddy Bear exhibition and then head back to my room. The quick stop turned into an hour or more as there were relatively few people around them today so I was able to have a proper look. There is one for each country in the United Nations and it is a travelling exhibition to promote peace. Some of the bears bore quite elaborate decorations, both front and back, whilst others seemed to have no connection with the countries they represented, so it was quite fascinating.

After a very short rest, I joined the others up on the roof terrace again and I later met with Tony, our tour guide for the rest of the week. Deb has been undecided as to whether to continue with this tour as she really wanted to go to Colombia so it could have been a very cosy four days with just me and the driver otherwise! (The Melburnians are leaving Cuba and going to New York.) However, she is now leaving on Saturday so there will be two of us. Interestingly, whilst we were talking to Tony, the lady of the house asked for their I.D.s and then phoned someone to check their credentials. Apparently, everyone coming into the Casas has to be checked out and they regard this as quite normal. (We have always had to present our passports and the details have been recorded.)

Dinner was had at a very small pizza/pasta cafe, which was OK but nothing special. We considered going to a bar and listening to some music but decided we were both too tired and headed home to bed.

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