May 29: Colon Cemetery; Hemingway in Cuba

This morning, we are taken by coach to Cementario de Cristobal Colon where there is an amazing collection of memorials to Cubans of all walks of life. There are several distinct areas, distinguished by the wealth of those buried there. It is said to be one of the largest cemeteries in the world, occupying 138 acres where there are about 50 burials per day. While we were there for about 30 minutes, we saw two burial processions. It is the only  cemetery dedicated to the discoverer of the island.

Our local guide paid special attention to the grave of Amelia Goyre de la Hoz, known as “The Miraculous One”. It has become the custom to approach the right side of the monument walking forward, knock three times, and depart by the left side walking backward.

_N7A2186

Of the many very impressive monuments, I’ll include only a few to give you the flavor of the place.

_N7A2184

Rare octagonal chapel.

_N7A2168_N7A2167_N7A2171_N7A2166

_N7A2177

A monument to fire fighters. Note the tear drops hanging from the chains.

_N7A2185_N7A2182

Eutimio Falla Bonet was a philanthropist in Villa Clara Province.

_N7A2175_N7A2180

We were told that Raul Castro has allowed the sale of cemetery monuments, as many of the families now live off the island and cannot maintain them.

Next we set out to visit Finca Vigia, Ernest Hemingway’s home in Cuba from 1939 to 1960. We were taken around the home by a knowledgeable volunteer guide and were able to look through windows and doors but not able to enter. We were told that everything we saw was in the place where Hemingway left them as far as could be determined. Old Man in the Sea was written here.

_N7A2204

Museum entrance.

_N7A2244

Amy and our Finca Vigia guide with a restored Buick.

_N7A2208

Entrance to Finca Vigia.

_N7A2213

Hemingway had a separate desk for letter writing separate from composing literature, a discipline he undertook in silence during the early morning hours.

_N7A2211

Dining room. Note the quarter circular book shelf.

_N7A2214

Living room. Fabric slipcovers are said to contrast Hemingway’s otherwise masculine preferences.

_N7A2212

_N7A2227

A Picaso ceramic wall hanging left when the family moved to the USA.

_N7A2221

untitled (1009 of 3)

Pilar, Hemingway’s fishing boat. The four stones are burial sites for Hemingway’s dogs.

_N7A2240

_N7A2219

View from a lookout next to the house, shown on the sign above.

_N7A2229

Pool.

Before settling in for lunch at a paladar, we stop by a cooking school where we are taught to make the authentic mojito and a popular Cuban pork or beef dish, “ropa veija”.

_N7A2274

This cooking school is housed in a modern building.

_N7A2276

One of our group volunteered to make a mojito, and wins a trophy.

_N7A2279

Amy volunteered, with a little coaxing from me, to make ropa vieja.

_N7A2289

_N7A2285

The addition of rum makes a visual treat.

_N7A2293

Amy is given her trophy.

Note the Havana Club bottle with yellow label. I think that is made by the distillery abandoned by the Bacardi family when they left Cuba for Puerto Rico.

After lunch at a paladar overlooking the Malecon, we visit a community project to engage children as a healthy alternative to life on the street. This project is supported by UNICEF and focuses on children’s rights through love and nurturing.

_N7A2315

_N7A2318

Director of the project.

_N7A2321

One of our group and two of the children.

_N7A2316

Several of the girls.

_N7A2320

 

We return to the hotel for our last night in Cuba. We look forward to our Farewell Dinner at  a rooftop paladar in downtown Havana.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s