On day 2 we began our day at Café Arcángel – the cutest breakfast spot that was located on 57 Concordia Street just around the corner of our apartment and is connected to the Heartbreak hotel. Picture park bench seating with embroidered pillows, cast iron painted chairs and archways, and glass armoirs enclosed black and white photos of the lovely Cuban couple that owns Café Arcángel the wife a former primal ballerina with her shoes on display.
The breakfast is unbelievably cheap, I recommend the arcangel platter which included coffee – (which was delicious and served with warm milk which is the right way) eggs, ham, fruit salad, fresh fruit juice (I had pineapple) and toast with butter and jam. This meal cost $5 CUCs, that is literally only $5 in US dollars as our currency is almost dollar for dollar. My favorite part of that meal is the marmalade jam and toast and that freshly squeezed pineapple juice – to think that you can eat well and at such a great price is an amazing draw to visit this country! The meal was so fresh and well balanced that we designated it to be our breakfast spot each morning before we started our day.
After breakfast we walked the streets of La Habana Vieja to check out local artist and were completely enamored by the young and older artist alike that paid tribute to their families through their illustrations showing the importance of celebrating their complexion and the valuable work of their families maintaining sugar cane fields.
On our way into town we were drawn to this dance studio as a young woman approached us asking us to take salsa classes. Monroe inquired about whether other students would show up and the instructor shared that many students typical join on Mondays and Sundays. Today was Saturday and we were the only ones that arranged to sign up which I didn’t mind because I wanted a smaller group lesson anyway. We made an appointment for 5:30pm and paid for half the dance lessons which totaled $45 CUCs for one hour.
Since it was still early in the afternoon we decided to go into town to take in the sights of artist and have a few drinks at Floridita, a lively restaurant and bar that was frequented by the late and world renowned Ernest Hemingway.
Upon entry we were surrounded by a live band and singers, couples, and friends alike enjoying food and drinks. We sat at the bar and settled on frozen daiquiris at the bar
which didn’t taste very potent but beware – we watched the bartender pour nearly an entire bottle of their signature Havana Cuba rum in a blender so I’m sure the drinks sneak up on you! Drinks at this restaurant and bar cost between $13-$15 CUCs.
Once we finished out drinks we flagged a cute taxi, a candy pink drop top convertible taxi to be exact,
to visit the Museo de Revolucion
which we quickly realized had us venturing into a very tourist area upon arrival, passing commercial looking hotels reminiscent of Europe. The mere site of these hotels made us appreciate our cute apartment which immersed us in the everyday hustle and bustle of locals.
Our lessons at Casa del Tango were sooo much fun! After the lesson we were too excited to go out dancing the next day and practice lol.
By evening we were famished after salsa lessons and decided on dinner near the Plaza de la Cathedral, of which we took a taxi from our apartment which cost $10 CUCs. Perusing O’reilly street, we finally settled upon a mom and pop restaurant that served dinner right out of their apartment! This restaurant was clustered among many others which interestingly shared kitchens to cook and prepare food for customers eating nearby. The food is pretty standard, menus offer rice with shredded beef, pork, fish, or lobster. Pizza is also plentiful as we’ve seen plenty local shops although it looks delicious at many of the restaurants we passed during the day.
We headed back to the hotel after dinner to sleep since we had a long day of walking and dancing to prepare for a two hour drive to beautiful Varadero beach with our taxi arriving at 10am on Monday morning. Of course we had breakfast at our favorite place before the drive. Once we arrived at Varadero beach it was windier than expected but we took beautiful shots that you wouldn’t be able to tell!