Day 1: HELLO MIAMI
We arrived in Miami after a 5 hour overnight flight from Phoenix and, after breakfast, toured the sights of Little Havana. We visited a public art garden, Wynwood Walls, which featured painted murals by famous artists such as Shepard Fairey.
We had a traditional Cuban-style lunch of rice and black beans with pork and chicken, and visited a library/bar which featured a live Cuban band. We went on a tour of Little Havana with director-led sightseeing.
Day 2 : HAVANA
The next day we flew from Miami to Havana and were greeted by Jorge and Geldrys, our two tour guides who stayed with us the entire week. We checked into the Panorama Hotel, which is very modern, and located on the west side of Havana, on the waterfront.
We visited the home and studio of two local Cuban artists, Yamilla and Jaqueline Bristos, then lunch at El Aljibe restaurant. After lunch we toured an artists collective, called Muraleanda, barrio majico, that is a space for artists to work, teach skills to local residents, and host workshops by internationally known artists.
In the evening some of our group took a taxi to see a performance of the Buena Vista Social Club.
Day 3 : OLD HAVANA
Compas Dance and Music Company visit
Day 4 : VINALES VALLEY
Viñales Valley excursion
Finca Agro-Ecologica agricultural cooperative visit, hike in Viñales with local farmers and visit farmers' homes
Day 5 : CIENFUEGOS
Travel to Cienfuegos via Matanzas
Hector Crespo Farm visit
Cienfuegos city walk
Day 6 : CIENFUEGOS - TRINIDAD
Local art school visit
Travel to Trinidad
Trinidad city walk
Day 7 : TRINIDAD - SANTA CLARA
Travel to Santa Clara
Valley of the Sugar Mills cultural exchange
Santa Clara city walk
Day 8 : SANATA CLARA - HAVANA
Met with local private hostel owners
Fiesta de los Abuelos educational Exchange
Travel to Havana
Farewell Paladar dinner
Day 9 : END TOUR
Overall, we had a tremendously satisfying experience. Our trip introduced us to the complexity that is Cuba. In spite of government restrictions, the people we met were friendly, industrious and creative. The 8 days in Cuba flew by, and I am looking forward to going there again, and spending time getting to know the artists we met on this trip.
- Professor David Bradley
All photographs courtesy of David Bradley.