Viva la Revolución
Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes y Memorial Granma

Il Divino Restaurante

I had a window seat for the short (1-hour) charter flight between Miami and Havana, which afforded me great views of the turquoise water and vast green farmland as we came in over Cuba.

Cuba Aerial
Aerial shot over Cuba

Even after we'd touched down and were heading into Havana, it was much greener than I'd imagined. All farmland, really, or brush growing on either side of the road, on which you'd periodically pass cows, goats, and chickens.

Cows
Cows along the road

People gather and walk freely on the shoulder of the road, and cars - not people - have the right of way. You see all manner of transportation - the ubiquitous classic cars, plus bikes, horses, horse-drawn carriages, and tractors...

Cars and Horses
Sharing the road

...and lots of socialist propaganda on billboards and buildings, featuring Che Guevara, Fidel and Raul Castro, and former Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez

Che Guevara
Revolutionary hero Che Guevara
Fidel y Chavez
Castro and Chavez: BFFs

Our first stop was Il Divino, a beautiful paladar (more on these private restaurants in a later post) that uses ingredients from its own garden.

Il Divino
Il Divino Restaurante

They welcomed us with rum drinks and we sat in wooden glide chairs under a thatched roof, open air bar with beautiful tiled floors and tables while a traditional Cuban band performed.

 

Havana Club Rum
The famous Havana Club Rum

Out back are rows of carefully tended vegetables and greens, towering Cuban pear trees with clusters of magenta flowers and ruby pears, banana plants, avocado bushes, and a handful of hammocks strung between the trees.

Garden
Il Divino's organic garden
Cuban pear
Beautiful Cuban pears
Orchid
An orchid
Hammock
A hammock in the Il Divino garden, over fallen flower petals from the Cuban pear tree
Hammock2
Another hammock (and a crazy tree) in the Il Divino garden

There were also carved wooden parrots in the trees, and lanterns strung about - beer bottles with their bottoms removed and light bulbs inside.

We enjoyed a delicious lunch on the terrace - my selection included salad, fried chick peas (excellent), lasagna (in a white sauce with meat, diced onion, and an egg inside!), and home made pineapple ice cream with a cortadito (Cuban espresso).

Dining Room
The terrace at Il Divino

 

Cortadito
Cortadito (Cuban espresso)

A black cat meandered through the property, too, crying out for a bite of food. 

Cat
Feed me!

This place was fantastic; what a great start to our trip!

Chef
The Chef at Il Divino, bidding us adieu

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