Hotel Nacional de Cuba–Military Museum

This hotel, Hotel Nacional de Cuba, is in the Vedado district of Havana.  The hotel is on the north coast of Cuba, overlooking the Malecon and the Caribbean Sea.  Havana is 90 miles south of Key West, Florida.  I, Zeb the Duck, am reminding you of these facts, to partially explain the small museum here and the historical importance.  In October 1962 the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States reached what is often considered the worst moment.

Missile crisis??
Missile crisis??

In the United States we call it the Cuban Missile Crisis and in Cuba it is referred to as the Missile Crisis.

This is part of what I saw in the lawn of my hotel.

Entrance to underground bunker
Entrance to underground bunker

The Cueva Taganana is the underground bunker on the grounds of the Hotel National de Cuba.

Cueva Taganana
Cueva Taganana

Our last morning at the hotel, the cave was open while sweeping out excess rain.  The gentleman said we could go inside.

Inside Cueva Taganana.  Map and posters
Inside Cueva Taganana. Map and posters
The Soviet position
The Soviet position
Fidel Castro's position
Fidel Castro’s position

This is serious stuff.  Even ducks know this.   This Cueva Taganana is now a museum and here is another reminder of past trouble between Cuba and the United States.

Bay of Pigs
Bay of Pigs
Near the underground bunker
Near the underground bunker

This cave has been an important symbol to Cuba since the 16th century when it served as a refuge for an Indian named Taganana.  The cave has been changed to tunnels for the defense of Havana.  In 1885 15 cannons were placed on the grounds as part of a Spanish artillery regiment.  This is a big cannon!

Wow!  This is big especially for a small duck
Wow! This is big especially for a small duck
Still tension between the United States and Cuba
Still tension between the United States and Cuba

Our hotel is near the Hotel Havana Libre.

Hotel Habana Libre, former Hilton Hotel
Hotel Habana Libre, former Hilton Hotel

This was a new Hilton hotel but in 1959 it was taken over by Fidel Castro, nine months after opening.  Fidel Castro renamed the hotel and ruled Cuba from the 24th floor for a few months.

There has been many problems between the United States and Cuba and several still exist.  Ducks don’t best involved in politics, but the people I met in Cuba were very nice to me and I was very nice to them.  The people and ducks can get along; maybe the governments will one day.

Let's all sit down and talk about peaceful relations

Let’s all sit down and talk about peaceful relations

The hotel offers tours of the hotel and grounds daily.  We were on other tours during the scheduled time, but I would recommend taking the tour of Hotel Nacional de Cuba if you have the time.  This is a fascinating place and the amount of history is astonishing.

Hotel Nacional de Cuba Havana Cuba

I, Zeb the Duck and my group of humans are staying at the historic Hotel Nacional de Cuba in Havana.

Our hotel.  The Hotel Nacional de Cuba

This hotel opened in 1930 when Cuba was a prime tourist destination from the United States.  The location and the manicured lawns of the hotel are stunning.

Many famous people have stayed here and many pictures adorn the walls in the bar and other areas of the hotel.  This jukebox is part of a tribute to Nat King Cole (according to Wikipedia).

In our hotel bar area

In our hotel bar area

Here is a statue honoring a musician,

Musician and Zeb in Hotel Nacional de Cuba

Musician and Zeb in Hotel Nacional de Cuba

and maybe me, Zeb the Duck?

Here I am with another friend, Bif.

Zeb and Bif overlooking the Caribbean Sea

Zeb and Bif overlooking the Caribbean Sea

We are in the bar area overlooking the Caribbean Sea.  One day in the bar area, mom and her friend put me on the bar with these colorful drinks. The bartender saw me, smiled and said “Ducks are welcome here.”

Ducks welcome here!

Ducks welcome here!

I feel so happy at the Hotel Nacional de Cuba.

The Hotel Nacional de Cuba has the Parisien nightclub.

This club and show are in our hotel.  Let's go!

This club and show are in our hotel. Let’s go!

One evening we saw the cabaret show.  These photos just don’t do justice to the show,

The show

The show

but view these and use your imagination.

We liked this show

We liked this show

The show was very nice and we enjoyed it completely.

The manicured lawn and location of the Hotel Nacional de Cuba make it a popular location for weddings.  This is a happy couple.

Wedding at Hotel Nacional de Cuba

Wedding at Hotel Nacional de Cuba

Here I am on a table overlooking the water.

Zeb waiting for refreshments

Zeb waiting for refreshments

As we walked around the grounds, I met this peacock.

This peacock is my new friend.

This peacock is my new friend.

He has beautiful colors and is friendly.  Next time I want to show the military museum at the Hotel Nacional de Cuba.

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.