I'd hyped Havana up in my head, so I wasn't surprised that it fell just short of my expectations, but I loved it nonetheless. The faded and crumbling colourful buildings and the picturesque side streets are a photographer's dream. It's quite a large city and there are several neighbourhoods, the most famous of which is Old Havana (Habana Vieja). In a way, Old Havana reminded me of Stone Town and the island of Cuba reminds me a lot of Zanzibar too.
I have a lot of photos and you guys better like them, given the catcalling I had to endure to get some of these shots. I'd been warned that this is "part of the culture" but it still made me feel unsafe and was the one thing I disliked about Havana.
This ornate looking building on the corner of Plaza Vieja used to be a hotel.
Plaza de Armas, where these stalls sold antiques and books.
There are a few main tourist streets in Old Havana, which are very sanitised, but the side streets look more interesting I think.
Serendipitously, while wandering during free time without the tour, I bumped into a friend from uni on one of the backstreets. We'd arranged a time and place to meet the next day but it was nice to find her early! We proceeded to wander together.
It was good we had each other, as we walked further and through more quiet streets than I would've alone (given the incessant street harassment - at least we could deal with it together).
Capitolio - the old government building, now a museum. Exactly the same as the White House, but built to be taller.
I do find charm in the fact that the buildings are all falling down or look liked they should be abandoned, but I don't want to romanticise it because it's probably not good for the inhabitants of the city.
But there is a literal tree growing inside this building.
Then met up with the tour group again, for a classic car tour, which was fun.
To be continued!