With the tour over, this was our day to explore Havana. We already had our bearings, so it was much easier to get around.
We went to find the coffee place we had heard about to bring some back and ran into Jim and Allen. We went with them to a hotel where you can buy coffee and cigars and get receipts for customs, as well as we could change a little more money since we were short for tips and such. This would be a great time to talk about how much money is needed for a trip of this length. Read more here.
We bought a box of 10 Montecristo cigars and a kilo of coffee (total $45).
We then took an old American car cab to the place I had been excited about, an English-language bookstore called Cuba Libro. Unfortunately, the owner was rude to us, even though I said I had tried to contact her to bring whatever she would need from the US. I think she felt like too many Americans coming to Cuba would be a bad thing, which means she thought we were part of the problem.
I refused to let this sully my last day, so we went on to Parque John Lennon, a park which had a statue of John Lennon in it.
Then we walked to the Cementerio de Cristóbal Colón, one of the few places where there weren’t many tourists and we didn’t have to pay to go in. The old white statues and aboveground graves went on for miles in either direction.
Even though there’s not much shade and it’s quite warm, you can linger and explore. The scale is hard to imagine, but look at the size of this one, I’m the speck in front:
We then checked for restaurants in the area on an iphone app I had. One nearby that was recommended was Cafe Lala (which has now changed names to Karma). Decent food, lovely setting, and nice non-alcoholic frozen drinks to cool down.
In front of the cemetery is a taxi stand, so we grabbed an ancient Russian car taxi (I managed to talk the price down! My Spanish is getting better 🙂 and went to Callejon de Hammel, a painted alley.
Despite the constant “where you from?” from guys looking to separate us from our money, the alley was actually spectacular and there was only one other tourist there.
These are real bathtubs:
Chickens add to the ambiance:
After all this walking, we were ready to put our feet up and pack for the early morning flight. We walked back and asked Barbara for dinner (which ended up being $5 each once we paid her for everything).