We got up at 0730 for catching the plane to Havana. The airport in San José was very structured and efficient, so we had plenty of time for shopping. We found most of the things we needed for Cuba, and managed to spend all the colones we had left. At boarding there was some chaos because a lot of passengers didn’t have their Cuba visas, but they were able to get them there if they just payed what was probably a high price. The plane was only half full and we got seats by an emergency exit, so we had plenty of space. We were a bit delayed from San José, but with a flight time of less than two hours we landed ahead of schedule. At the airport in Havana there was no lines at all, so we got through immigration and the health check in no time, but then Fredrik got stopped in customs and we ended up answering a very long questionare about our jobs, our travels, our previous trip to Cuba, our cameras etc. The customs officer was really nice and quite jealous of Fredrik’s camera, and wished us a good trip, merry Christmas and happy new year when he was finally finished with all the questions. In the arrival hall we were welcomed by our taxi driver with a sign saying “Fredrik & Gunnhild”. We went to the ATM to get som CUC before heading towards Habana Viejo.
When we arrived at Casa Lourdes she was waiting at the balcony with the key to the front door in a long string. We got a very warm welcome, and got a small but nice room in the back. We had a beer from the honor bar and looked at the view towards Capitolo while she was doing the paperwork, and then walked to Plaza Viejo just a few blocks away. We had a couple of beers and some light snack at the microbrewery there (Taberna di la Muralla), and then walked around in a lot of small and unknown streets to really get into the Havana vibe. We had a cheap mojito (2 CUC/USD) with mainly rum (since that is cheaper than the other ingredients) before we ended up up in Bar Monserate. There we had a few drinks, a cigar and listened to the band, but since the guests were mainly tourists we felt it was time to move on. We couldn’t really find a nice bar in the area without all the tourists, so we asked a police officer if he had a suggestion. He told a young female officer to take us to Bar dos Hermanos. She even came into the bar with us to make sure that there would be music later. The bar had a mix of locals and tourists, but only the right kind of tourists. We started talking to Carolina and Andrés from Columbia, and had a great time there for a couple of hours. In the evening we went to a paladar suggested by our host Lourdes called Las Estaciones. We ordered several different local “tapas dishes” which was all really, really good. We also liked the mood of the place, and talked a bit to one of the waitresses. Back in the casa we had to knock on the door (as agreed), and were let in by Lourdes’ husband. He didn’t speak much English, but we quite easily ordered breakfast for the next morning in Spanish before going to bed.