Literary Havana V

January 03-10, 2015

Your Itinerary

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Sat, 3 January 2015

[2:00 pm] Miami departure


[3:00 pm] - Arrive in Havana


Check-in: Hotel Telégrafo

[4:00 pm] - Orientation and familiarization

[6:00 pm] - Barrio Chino walking tour


Contracted Chinese workers, almost all male, came to


Cuba in waves over the decades, working in sugar mills,


in agriculture, and in Havana itself. Many of them married


Cubans, resulting in a culture that today is centered in


Barrio Chino. We are fortunate to have Relga Albarrán,


raised in Barrio Chino, lead us on a walking tour of her


neighborhood pointing out its social centers, historic


churches, theaters, and markets, as well as the senior


citizens home for elderly Chinese.

[7:30 pm] - Decameron Paladar


Paladars are private restaurants located in people’s


homes. With inventive recepies and attentive service, paladars


have become enormously popular with visitors, Decameron


among them.

Sun, 4 January 2015

[7:00 am] – Buffet breakfast at the hotel


We’ll have a buffet breakfast every morning at our hotel.

[9:00 am] - Old Havana Four Plazas


We will tour Old Havana on foot, walking between the


four main plazas that comprise Cuba’s first UNESCO World


Heritage Site. We’ll start at the Plaza de Armas, 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.


We’ll continue to Plaza de San Francisco de Assis and


Plaza Vieja, where we will visit artist galleries and historic


buildings. The walk, which winds through streets lining


five centuries of historic architecture, gives a clear sense


of the structure of the colonial city. We’ll end at Plaza de la


Catedral and see the Baroque cathedral.

[12:00 pm] - Doña Eutimia – Paladar


Cuba’s paladars have been evaluated in on-line guides.


Doña Eutimia ranks extremely high, or example, among


tripadvisor users for its food and atmosphere.

[2:00 pm] - Callejón de Hammel

This alley, located in the working class Cayo Hueso neighborhood, serves as an open-air Afro-Cuban religion sanctuary, the work of local artist Salvador González. Its walls are adorned with evocative Santería murals paying homage to various religious belief systems of African origin. It hosts the famous Afro-Cuban rumbas that take place every Sunday afternoon. González, a self-trained artist, will be present. In addition to live and lively dancing and drumming, the Callejón hosts an art gallery and art school for neighborhood children. From its inception, González has refused funding from various government cultural institutions, preferring to support his activities from the sale of art work and donations.

[7:30 pm] - Dinner on your own; We will recommend a restaurant or paladar.

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[3] Monday, 5 January 2015

[7:00 am] – Buffet breakfast at the hotel


[9:30 am] – We’ll take a motorcoach 85 kilometers east


from Havana to Matanzas

[12:30 pm] – lunch at Restaurant Velazco

[2:00 pm] - Ediciones Vigia in Matanzas


The publishing house Ediciones Vigía, founded in 1985,


produces hand- made, limited run, one-of-a-kind books.


Members of the Vigía cooperative take on egalitarian


roles, printing, cutting, pasting, editing and binding each


book. We will watch them in action as well as engage in


discussion about Cuban publishing. Some copies of their


titles will be available.


[4:30 pm] – Return to Havana.


[7:30 pm] - Dinner on your own; We will recommend a restaurant or paladar.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

[7:00 am] – Buffet breakfast at the hotel


[9:30 am] - Ferry ride across Havana Bay to the town of Regla

[9:45 am] - 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. The church, a community, human-

scale affair, serves a neighborhood that includes women


who greet visitors and predict their future.


[10:15 am] - Guanabacoa Museum (Museum - Religious)


This one-of-a-kind museum located in a town adjoining


Havana, comprises objects of the popular Cuban religions


of African origins: Regla de Osha, Reglas Congas and the


Abakuá Secret Religious Societies. A guide will show,


through exhibits and description, the history of Cubans


brought from West Africa to the island, and how these


slaves maintained their beliefs and mixed them with


Catholicism. The result was syncretism, which today


defines the various Afro-Cuban religions.

[12:30 pm] - Doña Carmela - paladar


Excellent food in a garden offering criolla and international


cuisine. Known for its friendly and efficient service, dining


at Doña Carmela takes place in the backyard of a private


residence under trellises designed for the paladar.

[3:00 pm] - Ernest Hemingway's Finca La Vigía, (Museum -


History Museum)


We’ll visit Ernest Hemingway’s Finca La Vigía,, located on


a hilltop in the village of San Francisco de Paula southeast


of Havana. The home has recently been the subject


of a massive effort by the National Trust for Historic


Preservation to arrange the it just as the author left it in


1961. The grounds include the cemetery for Hemingway’s


many cats, a swimming pool, and his famous sport-fishing


boat, the Pilar. Out-buildings on the grounds house the


Hemingway archives, where documents he left behind


still exist. Finca Vigía and the fishing village of Cojímar–


from which the old man left for the sea– are considered


the most significant locales for those interested in


Hemingway’s life and writing.

[7:30 pm] - Dinner on your own; We will recommend a restaurant or paladar.

[5] Wednesday, 7 January 2015

[7:00 am] - Breakfast at the hotel


[9:30 am] - Theater activity


Visit Teatro Bertolt Brecht, where Cuban director Edgar


Estaco and playwright Pedro Ángel Verá will host a


discussion on Cuban theater, contemporary and historical,


followed by a rehearsal for the play in production.

[11:00 am] - La Casa de la Comunidad Hebrea de Cuba


(The Patronato)


We’ll visit La Casa de la Comunidad Hebrea de Cuba (El


Patronato), the Jewish community center that works to


preserve the traditions and pride of Judaism on the island.


This venue is located on the ground floor of a renovated


synagogue that annually hosts High Holy Day services. The


Patronato pharmacy accepts donated over-the-counter


medicines, available to any Cuban who walks in. Adela


Dworin, President of the Patronato, will brief us on the


history of Cuban Jews.

[12:30 pm] - El Aljibe Criolla cuisine Restaurant


This friendly open air restaurant in the Miramar district is known for its classic Criolla food. In mid- 2015, a novel called Sofrito will be published in the States in

which this restaurant, identified as El Ajillo, plays a major role.

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[2:30 pm] - Rooftop literary mixer Cuban writers, poets,


A rare and informative event, this literary mixer at


the fifth-floor walk-up Centro Habana rooftop home of


internationally published poet Reina María Rodríguez


offers an opportunity to meet Cuban writers, poets, and


others in the country’s literary world. A bilingual poetry


reading concludes the visit.

[7:30 pm] - Dinner on your own; We will recommend a restaurant or paladar.

[6] Thursday, 8 January 2015

[7:00 am] – Buffet breakfast at the hotel


[9:00 am] - Day trip to Viňales


190 kilometers west of Havana in Pinar del Río province,


Viňales has evolved into a center for backpackers,


independent visitors, and students of limestone formations.

[11:00 am] - Cueva del Indio


Just outside Viňales is The Cueva del Indio, which Cubans


discovered almost a century ago. The cave’s name comes


from the indigenous Guanahatabey people who, during


the Spanish conquest, used it as a refuge and a graveyard.


About one-third of the 5100 foot grotto has been


developed for visitors, like you, walk, then ride on a


motorized boat through remarkable limestone formations.

[12:30 pm] - Finca Rojas


Finca Rojas is a working tobacco farm in Viňales Valley


open to visitors. Tobacco for Cuba's legendary cigars comes


from this region. Before visiting the tobacco drying barn,


we’ll have a home grown lunch served on the grounds of


the finca. Tobacco for Cuba’s legendary cigars comes from

[4:00 pm] Return to Havana.


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


Back in Havana, we’ll dine at the internationally famous La


Guarída. Much of Cuba’s 1996 Academy Award nominated


movie “Strawberry and Chocolate” was filmed here. Both


the film and the restaurant are entirely worthwhile.

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[7] Friday, 9 January 2015

[7:00 am] - Breakfast at the hotel


[10:00 am] - Museo de Bellas Artes Cubano/Cuban Fine Art Museum


We’ll 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


an elaborate and noteworthy collection of Cuban visual


art that spans four centuries. From pre-colonial art to


the present, Cuba’s artists have reflected the country’s

11:00 am] - Taller experimental de Gráfica


The Taller was established in 1962 by a small group of


artists lead by Orlando Suárez, a muralist whose initiative


also helped found the Superior Art Institute. Mr. Suárez


was supported in this effort by the Chilean Poet Pablo


Neruda and by Che Guevara who applauded his efforts


to create a center where all artists of the City of Havana


could go to produce prints. Today the Taller is more than


a workshop. It is a studio, a school and most of all, an art


institution that preserves and develops the sophisticated


art of print making with relative freedom of spirit and


form. While at the center you will see artworks produced


there and have a conversation with the artists about their


works and about life as an artist in Havana.

[12:30 pm] - NAO paladar

[2:30 pm] - Farmers market


Havana enjoys a system of farmers markets that are part


of the food distribution system and a large element of


the country's new foray into small business. Each farmer


can bring fresh products to sell directly to Habaneros.


Cuban produce is 100% organic and has been that way for decades.

[7:30 pm] - Farewell dinner at Kadir López Art Studio
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[8] Saturday, 10 January 2015

[7:00 am] - Breakfast buffet at the hotel


[9:00 am] - Check out of Hotel


[11:30 am] - Lunch on your own


[12:30 pm] - Transfer from te Telégrafo to the airport


[4:00 pm] - Depart Havana to Miami (Don’t forget your 25


CUC departure tax.)


[5:00 pm] – Arrive Miami, clear customs, connect to


domestic flight.