If you have never been whisked around old Havana in a turquoise, 1957 Chevy, you have not experienced Cuba’s capital city. To visit Havana is to travel back in time to the 1950’s.
The city itself looks a little worn, but underneath you will find a friendly, safe and interesting metropolis, which offers everything for the transient traveller. The city is divided into old and new and although the new has some interesting sights the old is the place to go. Buildings, dating back to the 17th century are nestled between newer ones. Laundry hangs from balconies, and shops and cafés are everywhere.
At the centre of it all is the Capitolio (the former Capital building) with its imposing dome, the largest of any Latin American country. If you walk up the many steps and turn to look back you will see a spectacular view of Paseo de Marti, a street lined with apartments, people and old cars.
To describe Havana and not talk about the automobiles would be a great omission. Present day Cubans are not allowed to own cars (Castro states that Cubans cannot afford them and therefore will not own any). For that reason thousands of North American cars, all dating pre-revolution (1959), are still in operation today. Most are painted in bright colours and many serve as taxis, but they all have one thing in common: their owners keep then running perfectly, although in some cases they appear to be held together with chewing gum.
Along the water’s edge stands the Castillo, a fort constructed in the 1500’s to protect Havana from pirate attacks. It is worth the visit if for no other reason than to see