Hemingway Remembered in Cuba

Zeb the Duck here again.  Today we visited Finca Vigia,

Finca la Vigia

Finca la Vigia

Ernest Hemingway’s Cuba retreat.  Then to lunch and a walk around in Cojimar, the fishing village portrayed in his book The Old Man and the Sea.

Ernest Hemingway rented Finca la Vigia in 1939 and purchased it a year later.  He lived there until 1960 when he moved back to the United States.  Hemingway’s home is as it was when he left.

View from house

View from house

To preserve and protect the contents, tourists are not allowed inside.   We walked on the porch, peeking in windows and doors.

The estate has a swimming pool and used to have a tennis court.

Path from house to pool and tennis court

Path from house to pool and tennis court

Between the pool and tennis court are 4 tombstones for Hemingway’s dogs.

Memorial to dogs

Memorial to dogs with boat, Pilar, on former tennis court site.

People that care about animals are good people, in this duck’s opinion.    The tennis court was covered and now is a resting place for Hemingway’s boat, Pilar.  We were told that Hemingway was considered a good employer and a good neighbor.  I like to hear about nice humans.

The property has a small market and gift shop.  The humans did some shopping while sipping sugar cane juice.  This gentleman freshly squeezed the sugar cane for the juice.

Made fresh sugar cane juice

Made fresh sugar cane juice

Our next stop to honor Hemingway was in Cojimar.  In Cojimar we enjoyed a wonderful lunch at Bodega Las Brisas.  This small fishing village does not appear to look different than it would have when Hemingway visited.

In Cojimar

In Cojimar

As I previously told you, Hemingway found the inspiration to write The Old Man and the Sea while relaxing in Cojimar.

Walking around town, taking photos,

Sea in Cojimar

Sea in Cojimar

we reached this statue of Hemingway.

Zeb the Duck on Hemingway's shoulder

Zeb the Duck on Hemingway’s shoulder

We were told it was one of the first statues to honor the author.   I think I, Zeb the Duck, look good on Hemingway’s shoulder.

We did not see fishing boats and learned that many fishermen cannot afford boats and if they had boats, they could not afford gas for the motors.  Our guide told us the fishing industry was depressed.

I hope you have read some of Hemingway’s books and get an opportunity to visit his home and favorite fishing village.  You would like to visit these places.

Cristobal Colon Cemetery in Havana, Cuba

We are going to the cemetery today.  This cemetery is named for Christopher Columbus.  The 140-acre cemetery has more than 500 major mausoleums, chapels and family vaults.  It is one of the greatest historical cemeteries of the world and the second most important in Latin America, second only to La Recoleta in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

I stayed on the bus.

Zeb the Duck's view from the bus

Zeb the Duck’s view from the bus

Mom didn’t think I should be posing on these monuments.  Here is some of what we saw.

Monument

Monument

Another monument

Another monument

One of the most famous tombs is for Senora Amelia Goyri or popularly called La Milagrosa.

La Milagrosa

La Milagrosa

When approaching, one must knock 4 times with the iron ring and when leaving, walk backwards.

This tradition was started by her husband and is continued today.  The senora and baby died during childbirth and were buried.  When the bodies were later exhumed, the baby was in the mother’s arms.  The baby had been buried at the mother’s feet.

This is main chapel for the cemetery.

Main chapel

Main chapel

Near the chapel this lady was restoring some other monuments.  Very slow, tedious work, but very important.

Restoration in progress

Restoration in progress

Many of these sites have been neglected as many of the families now live outside of Cuba.

In this cemetery there is a 75 foot memorial to firefighters.  Also two monuments to baseball players.  There is one bartender buried here.  He was Hemingway’s bartender.  Here are more photos.

Monument

Monument

Monument

Monument

Space in this cemetery is a a premium, so after three years remains are removed from their tombs, boxed and placed in a storage building.

A family vault

A family vault

And here is the bat.

The bat

The bat

This was not the cemeteries I see in Colorado.  I hope you see this soon.  It is beautiful.

Cigars made in Cuba

Today Alejandro told us we could be real Cubans.  We went to Casa de Habano.

Entering Casa de Habano

Entering Casa de Habano

I, Zeb will be a real Cuban duck??

First we watched this lady roll a cigar.

She is ready to roll

She is ready to roll

She has been rolling cigars for many years and is very good.  She put different varieties of tobacco leaves in her hand and arranged them just so.

Blend of tobacco leaves to form bundle

Blend of tobacco leaves to form bundle

These leaves, or bundle, are then rolled in the binder.  The original hand full of leaves makes the blend.  The binder is to hold them together.  Her hands are very busy and she knows exactly what to do.  The binder is held in place with a very small amount of vegetable paste.  The cigar is placed in a mold.

Cigar remains in mold for hours

Cigar remains in mold for hours

This is a wooden form of two parts, which is then placed in a press.  The mold properly shapes the cigar and helps allow proper airflow while smoking.

After several hours in the mold, the cigar is rolled again.  One of the best leaves will be the wrapper.

Cigar rolled into final wrapper.

Cigar rolled into final wrapper.

The wrapper has a good flavor, complementing the blend of tobacco inside the cigar, and the wrapper gives the cigar a good appearance.

After the cigar rolling demonstration, we look around the store.  Several famous people have purchased and smoked cigars here.

Famous former patrons

Famous former patrons

Casa de Habana sells many kinds of cigars, cigar accessories and Cuban rum.

Cedar cigar holders

Cedar cigar holders

We leave the main store and enter a shopping mall courtyard.   These girl musicians entertain us.

We enjoy listening to these musicians

We enjoy listening to these musicians

Alejandro tells us that this is time for us to be real Cubans.  We sample Cuban rum.  Very good but we don’t drink much.  Soon we receive small cups of strong Cuba coffee.  This is also good.  Mom doesn’t usually drink coffee but she liked it.  Did not have a bitter taste to her.

Our third step to being real Cubans is smoking a cigar.  A gentleman shows us how to light a cigar.

Light cigar with a burning strip of cedar

Light cigar with a burning strip of cedar

Use thin strips of cedar to light the cigar.  Cedar has no resin, so the flavor of the cigar will not be compromised.  Cigar lighting is not easy.  But tourists are persistent and the cigars are lit and being smoked.  These four cigar-smoking ladies are friends of Zeb the Duck.

My friends are cigar-smoking ladies.  Wow!

My friends are cigar-smoking ladies. Wow!  Deborah, MaryAnn, Susan and Alex

They look good with these cigars.  So Cuban!

After smoking and drinking, we explore a little of this mall.

Ready to climb stairs and visit stores

Ready to climb stairs and visit stores

There are three levels of stores.

Looking don to smoking and drinking area

Looking down to smoking and drinking area

Looking down the smoking and drinking area is pretty.  We spent some time and money in this paper mache store.

Lots of paper mache.  Zeb on top shelf

Lots of paper mache. Zeb on top shelf

I like this store.

First paper mache shoe for Zeb the Duck

First paper mache shoe for Zeb the Duck

Soon it is time to return to the bus and head for our hotel.  This was a great stop.  We had fun here.

Back in Havana with Zeb the Duck

My humans and I returned to Havana.  We are staying at the Hotel Nacional de Cuba.

Our hotel

Our hotel

I have so much to tell you about this hotel, but it must wait until another day.  Today we visit a senior center with a childcare facility.  The seniors come here for day activities.  And they are an active group!  Then we will walk to an elementary school.

Santos drove us to an older section of Havana.  Walking to the senior center, this is some of what I observed.

Havana street

Havana street

Older area of Havana

Older area of Havana

It rained last night, so we still have some water in the streets.

Arriving at the senior center, we entered this room.  The people were dancing and talking.

A Havana senior center

A Havana senior center

There was music.  It was like a party.  Some of the humans in my group joined the dancing and

Senior center

Senior center

some visited with the senior Cubans.

After awhile, we climbed the stairs and talked to other people and saw the children from the daycare.

Day care at senior center

Day care at senior center

From the second floor we enjoyed the view

This is a beautiful building

This is a beautiful building

of the interior of the building.

Leaving the senior center,

Leaving senior center

Leaving senior center

we walked to the elementary school.  On the narrow streets, we saw cars, bicycles and horses.  You can see that Havana, like many old cities, has some restored buildings and some that are crumbling and falling apart.

Old buildings are difficult to maintain.

Old buildings are difficult to maintain.

I liked this man and the cart with fresh vegetables.

Fresh vegetables available here.

Fresh vegetables available here.

We were able to visit Escuela Primaria Carlos Manuel de Cespedes or Carlos Manuel de Cespedes Elementary School.   We saw these students playing in the courtyard.

Kids playing

Kids playing

Photographs of national heroes were on the wall inside the school.

Cuban national heroes

Cuban national heroes

We saw these students being tutored.

Tutoring

Tutoring

These girls loved posing for photos.

Children posing

Children posing

They loved to see the pictures of themselves.

After lunch, we walked toward the Palacio del Teatro Lirico Nacional.    Along the way, we saw the former Bacardi headquarters.

Former Bacardi headquarters with bat on top

Former Bacardi headquarters with bat on top

Bacardi rum was started in Cuba in the 1800s.  They moved the headquarters to Hamilton, Bermuda after the Castro regime took some assets.    On top of the building is the Bacardi bat.  The bat became the logo because the bat is good for sugar cane growers.  Also one of the first buildings had bats in the rafters.

Our private concert at the Palacio del Teatro Lirico Nacional was on the second floor.  Mom and I loved these stained glass windows near the stairs.

Beautiful windows

Beautiful windows

They are beautiful.  This group sang for us.  We all enjoyed the music.

We enjoyed the concert

We enjoyed the concert

These talented singers perform in many countries around the world.  We are happy they were in Havana when we were.

Most of the humans brought gifts for the senior center and for the elementary school.  They were happy to receive our gifts and we were happy to help them.  I like the people of Cuba.  Check back to see more of my Cuban experience.

More Cienfuegos, Cuba with Zeb the Duck

Arriving at La Sociedad Grafica de Cienfuegos

School of graphic design

School of graphic design

I, Zeb the Duck, spotted this motorcycle.  Like any guy, I asked my friend Channel, to go for a ride.

Zeb and Channel ready to ride

Zeb and Channel ready to ride

Here we are on the motorcycle.  But we do not have the keys.

Inside this school, we see some finished work

Inside the school

Inside the school.  The Working Class Herd

and listen to the plans and accomplishments of the school and the students.  The Sociedad Grafica de Cienfuegos is similar to a City College.   The print shop’s mission is to provide activities and support for children with Down’s syndrome.  The finished pieces were created here, with this equipment.

Work area for students

Work area for students

The students and faculty are very talented and dedicated.

We cross the patio to enter the gallery or sales room.   Many paintings are available for purchase.  There are masterpieces available in the patio also. Here my friend, Connie, admires some pieces of art.

Connie admiring art

Connie admiring art

Leaving the school we admire the murals on the buildings.

Murals by school in Cienfuegos

Murals by school in Cienfuegos

I think the Cubans like to paint

Street art

Street art

and I believe they are very good artists.

On building near school in Cienfuegos, Cuba

On building near school in Cienfuegos, Cuba

Santos drives through Cienfuegos to Punta Gorda and the Palacio del Valle.

Palacio del Valle at Punta Gorda

Palacio del Valle at Punta Gorda

We will eat lunch in the restaurant here.

I am getting hungry

I am getting hungry

This building was constructed between 1913 and 1917.   Near the entrance, I spot a resting place for me.  Short duck legs require many resting spots and this one is perfect for me.

Zeb the Duck at rest

Zeb the Duck at rest

We enjoyed a delicious fish lunch and then wandered through the Palacio del Valle.

Palacio del Valle has a gorgeous upper patio.  If there were more time, later I would ask for a drink and snacks here.

Beautiful area

Beautiful area and ready for a snack

But we return to Havana tonight, so no snacks here today.  From this patio the views of the Caribbean Sea are wonderful.

Bay of Cienfuegos, part of the Caribbean Sea

Bay of Cienfuegos, part of the Caribbean Sea

This building has restaurants, patio with bar and food, a museum and rooms for rent.  Palacio del Valle is beautiful.  I hope you visit here soon.

Next time I will share more adventures in Havana, Cuba.  Cuba is a new experience for this duck and my human.  To visit and experience Cuba, check out http://www.FriendlyPlanet.com    You will enjoy your time in Cuba.

Cienfuegos, Cuba with Zeb the Duck

While Santos drove us from Trinidad to Cienfuegos, Alejandro answered our questions about life in Cuba.  He also told us about Benny More, a famous Cuban musician from Cienfuegos.   Benny More is often considered the greatest Cuban popular singer of all time.  He possessed a fluid tenor voice, which he colored and phrased with great expressivity.  Benny More formed and led the leading Cuban big band of the 1950s until his death in 1963.

Here I am with Benny in Cienfuegos.

Benny More and Zeb the Duck in Cienfuegos, Cuba

Benny More and Zeb the Duck in Cienfuegos, Cuba

I am sitting on the end of Benny More’s signature cane.  That is not a cigar under my feathers.

Walking through Cienfuegos, I liked this mural.

Mural in Cienfuegos, Cuba

Mural in Cienfuegos, Cuba

This is some of what I saw on the street. Notice the telephone booths.

A main street in Cienfuegos

A main street in Cienfuegos

Cienfuegos, Cuba

Cienfuegos, Cuba.  People, truck, bicycle and horse u

So many friendly people.

We stopped in the Hotel la Union.  Such a pretty hotel.  This restaurant was inviting,

Lovely restaurant in Hotel la Union.  Cienfuegos, Cuba

Lovely restaurant in Hotel la Union. Cienfuegos, Cuba

but mom said we were having lunch later.    She purchased a couple bookmarks.  One is still marking pages in our Cuban guidebook from Lonely Planet.

Jose Marti Park is very nice.  I especially liked this tree with the bumps on the trunk.

By Jose Marti Park in Cienfuegos

By Jose Marti Park in Cienfuegos

Here I am with Jose Marti, a revolutionary and philosopher.

Jose Marti and Zeb the Duck in Cienfuegos, Cuba

Jose Marti and Zeb the Duck in Cienfuegos, Cuba

Cienfuegos was founded in 1819 by Don Louis D’Clouet, a Frenchman from Louisiana.  Others followed but the settlement was destroyed by a hurricane in 1821.  The city was rebuilt and named Cienfuegos after the then governor of Cuba.  In 1957 officers at the local naval base staged a revolt against Batista sealing the place of the city in revolutionary history.

In 2005 UNESCO named the center of Cienfuegos the best example of 19th entry early Spanish Enlightenment in urban planning.

This is one of several old colonial buildings in Cienfuegos.

Cienfuegos

Cienfuegos