April 5, 2004

Cuba: Specific Recommendations

Museum of the Revolution (25k image)Part the Sixth: Part the First: Specific Recommendations

Okay, if you’ve been reading along until now, you have a good idea how Cuba is going to function. The big question is: What should you plan to do once you get there? Let me help you decide.

More than likely, you’ll end up flying into Havana to start off your trip. How much time you spend in Cuba’s largest city depends mostly on how much you like big cities. Rest assured that no matter how long you plan to be there, there will be too many things for you to see.

Museo de la Revoluccion and Bellas Artes
A few years ago it finally dawned on me that I don’t actually like museums. Go ahead, call me uncultured, but after countless visits where I pour over the details of the first half of a museum and feel guilty about skimming hurriedly past the second, I just gave it all up. Cuba’s Museum of the Revolution, though, almost changed my mind.

The Museum of the Revolution is situated in a beautiful palace in Old Havana and its goal is to chronicle the great achievements of the Cuban Revolution over the last 45 years. What interested me most was the spin of the propaganda contained within. Our U.S. version of many events is very different from the way Cuba views them. History is written by the winners, they say, and I find it refreshing to see both sides before it’s written at all.

For the military buffs, there’s a covered display behind the museum that has some assorted military hardware and the boat that brought Fidel and his initial revolutionaries over from Mexico. There’s a tank out front, too, if you’re into that sort of thing.

If you’re one of those that enjoys a full day (or two) of museum crawling, the two buildings containing the “Museum of Beautiful Arts” is right next door.