Robaina's plantation

Friday, 10 August 2018

Cerveceria Antiguo Almacen de la Madera y El Tabaco (Havana) 2018

                      Continuing on our walk along the Avenida del Puerto, across the street from the Church is the Cerveceria (Pub).
                    The original structure, which was a Tobacco and Wood Warehouse, was built in 1906, the construction of the docks close by were approved in 1860. The revitalization of the Avenida del Puerto and beyond included this building and the Almacenes San Jose (the tourist market) next door as well. The original owners of the warehouse were The Havana Central Railroad Company which used it as a steel warehouse. It had it's own railway lines connected to it and modern cranes, very advanced for it's time. The locomotive that was parked out front of the restaurant was sitting on the rails once used by the warehouse (the train wasn't there on my current visit). In 1959, with the triumph of the Cuban revolution, it was nationalized along with everything else. In 2014, the old warehouse was restored by the Office of the Historian of Havana and converted into a small brewery and a restaurant which opened it's doors to the public March 14, 2014 with a capacity for 400 people. Eusebio Leal Spengler, Historian of the City, was at the inauguration. Just like the Pub-Brewery in Plaza Vieja, the Cerveceria Antiguo Almacen also produces their own beer in the same 3 styles, light, amber and dark @ $2.50cuc a mug or $12cuc for 6 liters, using the same Austrian technology.
                   Although the food and service has declined somewhat since it's opening a few years ago, it still beats it's predecessor hands down for quality of food and cordial service.  During different times of the day they have a live band playing and don't forget to check out the sunset over the bay. Cigar smoking is allowed inside and on the huge patio. All in all, a pleasant experience.

Ave Del Puerto y San Pedro,
La Habana Vieja, Habana,
+53 7 8647780
Opening hours: noon till midnight

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

La Iglesia de San Francisco de Paula (Havana) 2018

                La Iglesia de San Francisco de Paula is one of the most important monuments in Cuba both for it's Artistic and Architectural values. It was constructed in 1668 to act as the chapel for the 'Hospital de San Francisco de Paula' that was once located next to the spot where the church now stands. At that time the hospital had 30 beds and was one of the most important in the city. In 1787 the hospital was expanded, it's specialty was maternity.
                 In 1940 the hospital was demolished but the church was left standing. After 1955 the church building was used for other purposes but not religious. Not long after that the church was abandoned all together and so began it's decline. When in 1990 the church was taken over by squatters, who used it as a residence, the church really began it's deterioration. Shortly after that the Cuban Government and the Office of the Historian of the City of Havana took over the building and restored it to it's present state by October 2000.
                 Today the site is used as a concert hall for groups playing Classical Music and as an Exhibition Hall for Contemporary Plastic Art and Religious Themes by Cuban Artists. You can see in the photos below the Procession of Jesus Christ have been painted by Zaida del Rio and there are other works done by other artists as well. Also in photos below you can see the ruins sticking out of the ground to the back and side of the church. This used to be a cemetery where they buried the patients that died in the hospital.
                  It's a great way to kill a few more minutes while taking your walk along the Avenida del're nearing the end.

Calle San Pedro (Avenida del Puerto)
e/ S.Ignacio y Leonor Perez (Paula)

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Hotel Armadores de Santander (Havana)

                 This is a spot that I haven't seen past the entrance, I have never stayed in this hotel. The most I've been able to do here is have a cold beer on their patio downstairs. On my last visit I asked if I could go up to their rooftop terrace, which I had read has a wonderful view of Havana bay, but was told it was under renovations....maybe next time.
                 The Armadores de Santander Hotel can be found at the corner of Calle Luz and Avenida del Puerto. It occupies three buildings of different ages and styles which have gone under an intensive restoration process. The main building was built in 1897 by José Cabrero Mier who came from Santander, Spain. Before then, there were two houses on this property, one of them was occupied by another gentleman from Santander, Ramón Herrera y Sancibrián, a well-known shipowner. By 1884, Herrera's offices were located in one of theses buildings and remained there for several years after which his descendants took it over until the 1890's and bought the building next to it known as "La casa del conde de la Mortera". From the early 1900's, this property had become home to many different activities: Candy Store, Bar, Barber Shop and Cigar Shop to name a few. By the end of the 19th century it's known that an inn was operating in one of the buildings rented by José Moure García called The Four Nations. By the 1930's the upper floors had become a brothel and in the 40's and 50's a hostel.
                   As with many of these older buildings, the deterioration was quite evident during the later part of the 20th century and so by 1999 the Office of the City Historian took it over and began restorations that lasted until 2002. For the most part both the interior and exterior of the buildings were restored according to the original plans and reopened as a hotel.
                   It's worth a visit, especially if you can have a drink on their rooftop terrace with the view of the bay. But regardless, I love these older hotels, they have so much more character than the new ones being built.....and besides, it's along the path of the Avenida del Puerto.