The most beautiful land that human eyes have ever seen. Christopher Columbus
Its been a long time, almost twelve years, when I have been to Cuba for the first time. Thanks to my good friend Jessika (owner of Cinejessy casting studio) I have spent great time there in Cuba in 2002. I have met her local friend Hecmer, a lovely lady, who she knew from the time she had been living in Cuba in the late 70’s. I have met Hecmer also in Prague and we became good friend. Traveling to Cuba was fantastic experience and I instantly fell in love with this country and with the people living there. When I left for the first time I felt that I left part of my heart there. So I had to come back for it. My admiration for Cuba was so strong that next year I traveled there for the second time just by my own. Don’t get me wrong, I hate dictatorship and I don’t like restriction of liberty of any kind. I have spent my young hood in Socialist country, luckily only until my 13th anniversary, so I feel pity for the people of Cuba.
Cuba for me is so much more then just an socialist country in ruins.
People are so warm and wholehearted, architecture so interesting, nature so beautiful, music so touching, dance so sexy, light so picturesque at least as I remembered from my last stay.
I haven’t seen Hecmer for more then eleven years so I decided that I am going to go to Cuba again and I planned my trip in November 2014. (and also thanks to my friend Mirko from Mexico I added Mexico to my list, I will write about it in a different blog post)
I don’t want to write about getting the visa and about troubles at the airport while entering the country, simply you have to count with having some difficulties, you are entering a socialist country and its a part of the journey after all. It takes really strong nerves when you arrive to Havana’s airport, customs officers have all time of the universe and they will keep you waiting.
Cuba’s recorded history goes back more than 500 years. In 1492, Christopher Columbus reported the existence of what he called “the most beautiful land that human eyes have ever seen.”When planning my trip to Cuba, I find a casa particular in Vedado. Did not have any reference to it. I Just felt that this one will be nice to stay in.
And it was the best choice I could have.
The owner Viviana (her place is called Bibiana) is openhearted beautiful lady, great cook, lovely person, who speaks four languages, an ex actress and what surprised me the most she is a photographer. What a coincidence! My stay couldn’t be any better.
She helped me with everything I needed to organise, I got couple of great advises for my plans as well.
She has got a cat “Mauricio” and a dog “Ossy” playful pets a cat which has a behaviour as a dog and a dog with adoration to a cat. Quite funny.
The light in Havana is beautiful. Have a walk in Vedado and Malecon area.
To be honest sadly the old Habana is almost in ruins, except the most tourist places.
I hoped that I will meet Hecmer, even though her son (living in Canada) mentioned that she has some plans to go to Canada, but the plans were as I understood, go to Canada in December. When I called my local friend Hecmer, she was surprised I am in Havana, and I than realised that she is traveling to Canada the day after. We were on the phone for while, quite sad that we couldn’t meet. What a pity. It is very hard to communicate with someone in Cuba. They have very limited access to email, not to mention Facebook or other social media, which are completely not allowed to use for the regular people.
I love walking the streets just by my own and observe the life activities and faces of strangers.
Havana is absolutely perfect city to do so.
Even so Bibi sad that I should not go to some places I was planning to go. She sad its not nice and representative like in Mercado de Cuatro Caminos. But I did not mind.
I also planed to go to Vinales, which is a nice place to go if you want to see cuban village. I walked around and talked with locals. Found a farmer whose brother took me on the walk, on the horseback tour around the place.
Domingo, he showed me how he makes handmade cigars and told me what part of the plant is “important” and what part should not go in there.
My new fujifilm XT1 camera let me down on this trip and it just did not work. Later on I find out on the fuji forum that my new fujifilm XT1 camera had this problem (fuji sent it to service and the problem of the new camera had to be fixed by replacing some of its part, they did not want to specify the problem any further). Luckily Viviana, as a photographer colleague, lend me her Nikon, to photograph around the Havana and Vinales. She was very nice, she helped to organise the trip,
she cooked for me and she even helped me to finish my photographic project on Cuba.
In case you are planning to go to Havana do not hesitate to contact her for accommodation and help.
You can find her at:
Bibiana del Campo Morffiz
Calle 11 No 768e/ Paseo y 2
apto 3B, Vedado, La Habana
+537 830 4242
+535 305 3374