Cuban art and architecture

With Rosa Lowinger

DECEMBER 08-12, 2014.

[1] Mon, 8 December 2014 - Havana City

[2:00 pm] - Arrive in Havana

En route stop at Plaza de la Revolucion. If we get in early enough we will go for a drink at the Floridita where Hemingway had his daiquiris or at the Bacardi building

[4:00 pm] - Drinks at El Floridita

[5:00 pm] - Check in to hotel Parque Central

[6:00 pm] - Capitolio Central Park and Prado

Lying on the border of old Havana and Centro Havana municipality, this area is notable for containing numerous architecturally and historically significant buildings that exemplify mid-19th c. urban center. We will begin at the 1877 Central Park, then walk along the 1772 Prado Promenade, see the Moorish-style Inglaterra Hotel, oldest in the city, the 1929 Capitolio building, which is modeled on the US capitol, and the Bacardi building, the best example of tropical Art Deco.

[8:00 pm] - San Cristobal Paladar (Restaurant - Paladar)

Rated by The Guardian as the number one Paladar in Havana, This paladar, is in a space that is cluttered and eclectic on the bottom floor of an early 20th-century mansion. Piles of old books are stacked atop beautiful old furniture; black and white photos jostle for space with antique record covers and bullfighting posters, while a selection of clocks, religious artefacts and, even a full-size zebra pelt, add to the mix. The food is Cuban-Creole: malanga, yucca, cerdo asado (roast pork), lobster, fresh fish, shrimp and other traditional fare. This is not, however, the bland standard cuisine found in many state restaurants. The dessert menu is expansive: pudding San Cristóbal (eggs, fruit, milk and almonds) is excellent while the fruit tart and rice puddings are pretty passable, as well as the omnipresent flan. The wine list is broad enough and reasonably priced. We will have a chance to speak with the Chef and the owner of the establishment to discuss food and new opportunities in the food industry in Cuba.

[2] Tue, 9 December 2014 - Havana City

[7:00 am] - Breakfast at the hotel

[9:30 am] - Old Havana Four Plazas

Tour Old Havana on foot, walking between the four main plazas that comprise Cuba’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. Start at Plaza de Armas, the site of the oldest Spanish fortress in the Americas, the 1519 locale of the first mass in Cuba, and the massive Baroque seat of government, known as Palacio de los Capitanes Generales. Continue to Plaza de San Francisco de Assis and Plaza Vieja, where we will visit artists galleries and historic buildings and get a sense of the structure of the colonial city. Wind through historic streets spanning 5 centuries of historic architecture and end at Plaza de la Catedral and see the Baroque cathedral.

[12:30 pm] - Doña Eutimia (Restaurant - Paladar)

Authentic Cuban and Creole cuisine A few steps from the Cathedral Square, on the Callejon del Chorro and beside the Graphics Workshop, Doña Eutimia a small place that offers exquisite creole food, unforgettable black beans accompanied with fried pork chops makes this small space an experience you will not forget.

[3:30 pm] - Museo de Bellas Artes Cuban art collection/Bellas Artes Museum

You will visit the Cuban collections in this striking modernist building which was completed in 1953 and exemplifies the combination of sculpture with architecture in Cuban mid-century modernism. The Palace of Fine Arts houses a collection of Cuban visual art that spans 4 centuries.

[6:30 pm] - Cristina and Figueroa Studio Visit (Museum - Artist Studio Visit)

This home/gallery is the center of the contemporary art world in Cuba and contains, among other things, the major holdings of the Alberto Korda estate. Ms. Vives will give a short talk on the artists she represents and about Cuban art of the last 20 years.

[7:30 pm] - Dinner on your own we will recommend a restaurant or paladar. Not included

[3] Wed, 10 December 2014 - Havana City

[7:00 am] - Breakfast at the hotel

[9:30 am] -Visit to el ISA

Cuba’s National Art Schools are considered by historians to be one of the most outstanding architectural achievements of the Cuban Revolution. These innovative, organic Catalan vaulted brick and terra-cotta structures were built on the site of a former American Country Club in the far western Havana suburb of Cubanacán, which used to be Havana's "Beverly Hills" and is now the mainly reserved for Communist Party officials. The schools were conceived and founded by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara in 1961, and they reflect the utopian optimism and revolutionary exuberance of the early years of the Cuban Revolution. Over the years of active use, the schools served as the primary incubator for Cuba’s artists, musicians, actors and dancers.

[9:30 am] - Vedado and Havana Moderna visits

After breakfast - Visit Vedado, Plaza and Modern Havana districts.

We will visit the Vedado district which highlights the architecture of the area, drive by the maine monument and the Malecon, Coppelia park the Havana Libre hotel and the Rampa district. The group will visit the farmers market, and other places of interest in Havana where they will have the opportunity to interact with the Cuban people.

[1:00 pm] - Vista al Mar Paladar (Restaurant - Paladar)

You will explore Cuba’s experiment with free enterprise and entrepreneurial pursuits by dining at one of Havana’s emerging Paladares. These home restaurants along with other types of small businesses were established to allow Cubans to create their own economic futures. You will talk with the waiters and meet the owner of your Paladar and discuss how free enterprise is fairing in Cuba. Vistamar Right on the ocean. Great for early sunset dinner and Mojitos!

[3:00 pm] - Visit the Neutra designed House (Tour - Architectural)

[4:00 pm] - Artist Studio Visit (Museum - Art Gallery)

[7:30 pm] - Dinner on your own (Miscellanea - On your own)

Dinner on your own

[4] Thu, 11 December 2014 - Havana City

[7:00 am] - Breakfast at the hotel

9:00 am] - Ferry ride across Havana Bay

Take the ferry from Old Havana across Havana Bay, to visit the historic City of Regla.

[10:30 am] - Our Lady of Regla Church (Museum - Religious)

Visit Our Lady of Regla Church, a church built in homage to the Black Virgin, with a breathtaking gilt altar beneath an arched ceiling. The black Madonna is the Patron Saint of Sailors

[11:00 am] - Ernest Hemingway's Finca La Vigia (Museum - History Museum)

Visit Ernest Hemingway's Finca La Vigia, located on a hilltop in the rural village of San Francisco de Paula, just southeast of the City of Havana. The home has recently been the subject of a massive preservation effort by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as the author left it in 1961. At this farm you will be able to see his sport-fishing boat, the Pilar. This place houses the Hemingway Museum. The Finca Vigia estate and the fishing village of Cojimar are considered the most significant locales for those interested in Hemmingway’s history.

[12:30 pm] - Lunch at Ajiaco (Paladar- International cuisine)

[3:30 pm] - Folklorico Nacional de Cuba performance (Tour - Cultural)

Go behind the scenes and witness this extraordinary ensemble of Afrocuban folkloric music and dances.After 35 years and 93 international tours you can't find more authentic Afrocuban performance than this.

[6:30 pm] - Classic cars.

Ride in convertible classic cars to dinner.

[7:30 pm] - La Guarida (Restaurant - Paladar)

Anyone who has been to La Guarida will find it difficult to disagree that Enrique and Odeisys have managed to create their own magical place. It oodles a cosy atmosphere with soft lights, fine table linen, German silver cutlery, candles, Cuban music and good jazz. The effect is magnified by the entrance from a run-down Central Havana street. The building, originally known as La Mansión Camagüey, shows its former grandeur from the magnificent wooden entrance door through the marble staircase up the two flights of stairs to the restaurant itself. Fidel’s famous explanation of [why he said] Patria o Muerte (country or death) is a photographer’s dream on the way down. For visitors to Havana, La Guarida has become a must experience. This is deservedly so for while it may be busy, expensive and has been discovered before, it retains its intimate (somewhat formal) charm and provides a quality dining experience with sensitivity and professionalism.

[5] Fri, 12 December 2014

Checkout: Hotel Parque Central

[7:00 am] - Breakfast at the hotel

[9:00 am] - Check out of Hotel

[10:00 am] - Craft Market ( Mercado artesanal)

[11:30 am] - Lunch on your own (Miscellanea - On your own)

[1:00 pm] - Transfer from a Havana hotel to the airport (Miscellanea - Transportation)

Transfer to and from hotel to airport.

[4:00 pm] - Depart Havana for Miami (Miscellanea - Transportation)