By Chris Morville ~
Our first full day in the city of Havana was full of excitement, confusion and overall new experiences. The day began with a walking tour of Old Havana, learning and seeing all of the sights that the city has to offer, including a stop at an old cafe for a mid-day coffee break.
This tour took us through the inns and outs of the city, its more flattering parts and the not-so flattering parts such as the old decrepit buildings in desperate need of renovations. Also included in the tour was an on-the-go informational session about Havana’s history.
After the walking tour we went to the highest point in Havana, the Jose Marti memorial sight. The sights were breathtaking. The views from the top of the memorial were unlike anything I have ever seen before. The Washington monument simply stands no chance. What makes this monument so amazing? The weather. With Cuba’s crystal clear skies, you can see as far as your eyes can talk you. It brings you to a tropical paradise.
After the memorial tour, we had a lecture where we discussed a lot of the architecture that we saw in the previous hours in much more detail than the walking tour provided. The professor that was giving us the lecture informed us on a “master plan” that the Cuban government has in place to restore Havana’s crumbling architecture. The plan consists of slow, gradual renovations starting in the cities epicenter and slowly moving throughout the whole city. The spots in which the renovations have already begun are very obvious to point out, with crumbling buildings on one side and a perfectly refurbished hotel on the other. Havana is far from completion of this project, with an average of two buildings that fall to the ground each day in the city alone.