It’s hard to believe we’re now in the middle of July. Been busy travelling during the first half of this year and towards the quarter end of last year. Didn’t plan it that way but that’s how it worked out which really sucks because that means no more holidays for the rest of the year. Hoping we’ll be able to take advantage of a couple of long weekend trips but that’s about it. On the other hand, I will have more time for my blog which has been neglected. On top of the travelling, I’ve also been catching up on my reading. Since reading goes hand in hand with travel, I am including a list of notable books I’ve read so far this year at the end of this post. So, let’s pick up where I left off on my last post. Let’s go back to Old Havana and take a walk around.
Old Havana (Habana Vieja) was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1982. This designation initiated a major restoration of the buildings in Old Havana. Today, you’ll see among other things, beautifully restored Spanish colonial buildings and Baroque churches. Enjoy leisurely walks through its plazas. You don’t have to worry about vehicles because no cars are allowed.
As we started walking around, one of the first things I noticed were these beautiful tiled street signs. Coming from Toronto where all the street signs are your typical rectangular sign on a pole, the street signs in Old Havana are charming.
As you walk along the streets of Old Havana, you’ll notice these wonderful inner courtyards.
Plaza Vieja or The Old Square
Plaza Vieja or the Old Square is one of the most beautiful squares in Old Havana. It might even be my favourite of all the plazas that we visited. I was attracted to the vibrant colours and the mixture of architectural styles from the 17th to 19th centuries, mostly colonial residences. They have done such a great job preserving these historical buildings.
The Old Square hasn’t always been called that. It has had many names – New Square (Plaza Nueva) when it was first built in 1559, then Market Square (Plaza del Mercado) in the 18th century and to its current name dating back to 1814. This plaza has witnessed major events such as executions, fiestas and bullfights. But these days, it’s a place to hangout. There was this sculpture of a bald naked woman holding a fork riding a giant rooster (I kid you not!). I wasn’t able to get a photo because of the number of people surrounding it. But I did find this article. In the middle of the square was a marble fountain but was demolished in the 1930’s when they built an underground parking lot. Seriously, right? A replica of the fountain was re-built which is surrounded by fencing.
This row is stunning with the beautiful stained glass windows!
And don’t miss this view of the Capitol Building! The Old Square is a nice place to just hang and relax. They have musicians serenading their guests at this outdoor patio.
As promised, here’s a list of some notable books I’ve read since the beginning of this year. I’ve provided links to each of the books for more info. If you look at the list, some of you will probably think, “She just read that this year?!”. “I know! I know!” I’m catching up. My top three from the list below are as follows: Still Alice, The Glass Castle and Me Before You. Enjoy!
- The Ever After of Ashwin Rao by Padma Viswanathan
- Visitation Street by Ivy Pachoda
- Still Alice by Lisa Genova
- Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid
- The Moment of Everything by Shelly King
- Us Conductors by Sean Michaels
- The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison
- The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
- Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum
- The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant
- The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
- China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan
- Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
- The Guardians by Andrew Pyper
- The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh