Saturday, January 23, 2016

farewell Cuba!

So our final day of the people to people trip is full of people - some of them alive and moving gracefully and some of them lying peacefully at rest...

we start our last morning with a lecture from the leader of the dance company (who also has a passion for baseball which Phil I am sure wishes he had indulged that passion rather than speak of dance.) He was an excellent presenter and spoke about dance and art forms in general.  From there we went to the Christopher Columbus Cemetery in Havana and visited the wealthy folks of the past.  This was the only property not nationalized when the Revolution took over in 1959... not that anyone is superstitious or anything....

It is full of stunningly beautiful sculpture -

Perhaps the most beautiful mausoleum is in ruins but you can imagine it from what is left... it is sort of a Taj Mahal of Cuba - a grand love story and a death followed by the building of an edifice to the eternal love. Each of the windows was colored and had roses carved within the glass so that the light streaming into the resting place of the beloved would cover her in roses.

the sides of the semi-rotunda structure are carved with palms

the skylights are yellow and purple glass with the embossed roses-

the black marble front doors are carved with the same rose pattern both outside and inside-

although the glass is broken you can still see the rose patterns on the shards-

the other grave of particular note is the one with the miracle baby - long involved and not very believable story but now women who want to bear children come to pray and when they get pregnant offer thanks and prayers at this site (hence the large floral arrangements)

from here we were whisked away to the synagogue where the dance company practices in the auditorium....

so then - it was back to the hotel for lunch on our own... Cuban sandwiches which were very good-
and in the afternoon we went out to the Hemingway home and then visited the Moro Fortress, which overlooks the city - but afternoon views were not auspicious so no photos of the harbor from this trip... the group also used that stop to buy cigars to take home with them...

when we returned to the Hotel Nacional we headed to the Salon of History and viewed the famous visitors to the hotel over the decades-

So this completes our recap of the trip to Cuba... we flew home the next morning - actually with flight delays of over three hours from the less than stellar Air Aruba- it was afternoon and we arrived home mid evening on December 23rd.  So it took me 31 days to finish reducing the photos from almost 2500 to just over 900... and to get these posts completed but - as you know I am not allowed to go on the next trip until the blog is done and the photo website updated and the photo book finished... so now on to steps two and three....

And in the upcoming schedule - I catch up with an old friend from work after decades (we met in 1991) and we have company from Chicago and then from Tampa (CBGB) and then from Atlanta... so lots on the calendar - more meals - more wines - more theater and symphony and a wine dinner or two along with the Grand Tasting at Forks N Corks.... the hits just keep on coming...LOL

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