Five ways to visit Havana from home
Havana is not just a beautiful city by the sea bound to a physical space, that’s for sure. It goes beyond, reaching all corners of the planet, in form of a diaspora in occasions but mostly in the name and spirit of things. That’s the reason we can find many ways of exploring Havana without visiting it, although walking its streets is definitely, the best experience of all.
There’s no need to be there to connect with it. Staying close is very easy, no matter where you are. In fact, that’s something we do more often than we know of, when we retrace memories or get in contact with a souvenir.
Today we would like to transport you to Havana through five simple tasks. Take them as a challenge, one that we hope, once completed, will make you feel closer to us.
1. Smoke a Good Cigar
Yes, we know, tobbacco is not originally from Havana nor it is harvested on its soil. However, the city concentrates the largest number of factories in the country and it has acted as a port for cigars exports for centuries.
Havana has given cigar production a distinct light with the introduction of an authentic tradition, “Cigar Factory Reading, an activity treasured within the Inmaterial National Heritage.
All sorts of stories come from a person who reads to the workers every day, news, novels and even poetry. It is said that with every read-phrase the tobacco leaves gain magical properties that are tranferred to cigars. This routine, the characteristics of the soil and the unique way the plants are harvested, make of Cuban Cigars the best in the world.
We encourage you to smoke and read, this will transport you to historical Havana.
2. Taste Havana Club Rum
If there’s a token that can make you feel close to the wonder city, this one is. Distilled from Cuban sugar cane, this rum is an icon of Havana and not just for in its label, la Giraldilla, the symbol of the city is portrayed, but in its essence the spirit of Havanians is represented through features like movement, mix and innovation.
Havana Club is the regent of the capital’s bars and clubs and the core ingredient of many of the most famous cocktails in the world, including Daiquiri and Mojito.
We suggest to open one of the popular dark rums-Añejo especial, Reserva, 7 años o Selección de Maestros-add a piece of ice, close your eyes and taste. The first image that will come to your mind will be probably related to Havana.
3. Prepare a Cuban Cocktail
Many cocktails are linked to Havana, whether they were created here or became famous in the city’s bars. Today we advise to give it a try to “Havana Special” a refreshing mix that was created by Constantino Ribalaigua, owner of bar Floridita, in the first half of the 20th Century.
It has simple ingredients, Havana Club Añejo 3 años (45 ml), Pinnaple Juice (45 ml), Marrashino (5 ml) and Ice (6 to taste).
Introduce the ice in a blender until frapped, then mix it with the rest of ingredients in a cocktail glass, shake and serve in a cup. Decorate with a slice of Pinneaple. The drink is ready to taste, it will be a special way to enjoy the flavours of Havana.
4. Listen to a song dedicated to Havana
Cuba is famous for its music and spectacular dance scene, achieving a great reputation worldwide. Diverse on its rhythms, Havana has also contributed to spread the island’s musical seed internationally. The city has witnessed the birth of beautiful songs and genres, such as, the Habaneras, lyric compositions, popularised in colonial times.
But the songs about Havana are difficult to label, for they explore multiple musical trends.
We recommend to listen, three of our favourite, “Hoy mi Habana” in the voice of Xiomara Laugart, Carlos Varela’s “Hábaname” and “Sábanas Blancas” by Gerardo Alfonso.
5. Enjoy of movies filmed in Havana
There are many films that has found in Havana location and inspiration. Titles such as “Fresa y Chocolate”, “Memorias del Subdesarrollo”, “La Muerte de un Burócrata”, “Una novia para David”, “Clandestinos”, “Habana Blues”, “Operación Fangio”, “Suite Habana”, “Conducta” and more recently “Fast and the Furious 8” have portrayed the city across several years of history.
These movie sets, are nowadays live settlements where people live and continue creating exceptional stories. Watching Havana through a screen is also a way of living it.
No matter how far you are from Havana, you will always carry it on your soul…