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Monday evening was wet, so wet that the opening event in Club Habana was going to be cancelled, the police weren’t letting anyone in. It was off, then on, then off, then on again so off we went. I’d have been happy where we were in the bar in the Nacional. The event was a bit of a washout. The London crew arrived that evening and good to see them.

Most of the entertainment cancelled due to the wet. At least the rain washed some of the sand off the food, which had been sitting out most of the day. Drinks flowing though, we found one of the few waitresses with a tray and kept her busy, she was very nice and we were very appreciative.

Midnight, off to Tocororo with a good bunch, maybe forty of us. Lovely evening. Saw Toby for the first time this trip, good form.

Tuesday morning, a quick tour of the university and the Napoleon Museum. Both well worth a visit.

Tuesday afternoon, party in John de Costa’s house, always a good bunch of people there.

Dinner in Vistamar with the London crew, one of the nicest restaurant balconies in Havana with a passable chicken teriyaki, also good pasta, then the Nacional bar for a party. Closed Mio y Tuyo.

Wednesday morning, met up with Punch Joe and did a tour of some of the touristy bits of old Havana for Sue. Sloppy Joes, lunch in Azucar again, the Cuervo y Sobrinos shop, Capitolio, Teatro Nacional, Revolution Museum, Almacen de San Jose. Rode in a coco taxi for the first time. Went back to Rafael Trejo boxing gym where we finally got to see some of the kids training. Lovely to see and a great coach.

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Cont..

Wednesday afternoon.

Over to VIPHavana for the FoH event. Good turnout. About 30 of there, not all FoH. I really like this restaurant. Great tapas, try the patatas bravas, just the right amount of heat.

I wasn’t going to the Wednesday night event, we were invited to the dinner at Palacio de Artesania. I have a friend who has two 1955 Chevy Bel Ari convertibles so we got one of those with a driver from out apartment. Great fun.

Met up with the others in Espacios afterwards then off to “Fantasy” nightclub. I’m not sure whose “Fantasy” that place is, not mine. Not bad for a Wednesday night though.

Dropped Sue to the airport Thursday morning then met up with the Fox crew and others for lunch in Santy’s again.

 

Quick change then off to the cigar party at the Melia Cohiba. Nice event, good music/entertainment and a generous pour in the cubatas.

La Guarida next for the Fox party. David McGrane, the manager of the Dublin shop for 40 years, is retiring this year so the party was in his honour. Rob and Stuart presented him with a humidor made by Humidores Habana, filled with custom rolls. Good cigars and a lovely humidor.

Off to Don Cangrejo, closed it again. Good night.

FoH event at VIPHavana. Rita, Sue, Stuart and Yuni in the foreground. Nino's in there, with John and a few others.

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On the way to Palacio de Aatesania in Yuni's car.

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Espacio's

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"Fantasy"

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Selecting cigars in the Fox house. Some 1991 Monte 2s there.

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Santy's again for lunch

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Entertainment at the Melia Cohiba party

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Friday morning, some errands, then Espacio’s for Sarah Saunders’s Women’s International Cigar Club. A friend, Rick, flew in from Miami that morning for one day, we met him there.

Lovely food, lobster with rice in squid ink. Interesting speech from Salomé Alemán Carriazo, master of rum, one of 7 in Cuba and the first female master. Tried a new cocktail that Sarah developed, aged rum and grapefruit juice. Not really my thing, though as someone said, maybe good with breakfast.

Rob left from there for the airport, the rest of us went for a long lunch in El Aljibe where we met up with Nino, John Bongo and ElCaminero, relaxing, lovely afternoon. Food is always good and perfect for those going to the gala dinner later.

Floridita and Monserrate again that evening with Yiorgos and Rick, then back to the Nacional for the afterparty. Finally got a masterclass in Mojito-making from Carlos. I could make a decent mojito before but now I know his tricks. Machine showed up at this, I hadn’t seen him much that week. Always good to see him.

The bar in the Nacional got packed with festival goers, too many. They’ll need, and are planning, a bigger space next year. Very nice party though. Closed Mio y Tuyo.

 

Salomé Alemán Carriazo giving her speech on rum

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El Aljibe for a late lunch, perfect timing to miss the tour buses.

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Monserrate with Rick and Yiorgos for cigars. Hoyo de San Juan from Rick. Very nice.

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Mojito-making tricks of the trade from Carlos.

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Gala dinner after party.

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Machine.

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Hunger gets the batter of Yiorgos.

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"VIP area" of Mio y Tuyo. It was a table beside the TV. The chap beside me is apparently somebody, that was his minder beside him. No idea who he is. Nice guy though.

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Last out.

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Saturday morning, into Habana Vieja again. The London crew heading off that day so lunch in Azucar followed by cocktails in Sia Kara, one of my favourite café/bars in Habana Vieja, right around the corner from Partagas.

Great dinner that night in Nero di Seppia with some friends, then Don Cangrejo to see Alexander Abreu with his band Havana d’Primera. Great show, highly recommended for a Saturday night.

Sunday, Yiorgos and David heading off so I saw them off with lunch at the Nacional then off to a friend’s house for a birthday party for his wife. Suckling pig with all the trimmings. Lovely time, my favourite “event” of the festival. Relaxing afternoon with some friends, beer and good cigars.

Dinner in Corte del Principe that night. One of the best restaurants in Havana now. Set dinner, they cook what they have, Italian style and it’s all brilliant. Fabrica de Arte after that, then Mio y Tuyo, followed by Fantasy, met Yannick with a crew, then Mio y Tuyo again.

A lot of rushing around on Monday, dropping stuff off to people. Called over to the daycare that some friends run, to drop stuff off for the kids that the Irish and UK crew had brought over, lovely time.

Then a final lunch with the Gibraltarians and Cuban friends.

Met Nakamura at the airport that evening, we were on the same flight. He had 12 hours in Paris, I had 7, so we got the train into Paris and had a very nice afternoon together over some SLR Marquez.

Cuba. I’d do it again. 😊

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On the Malecon, I like this one.

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Penthouse apartment over Azucar. Nice sport.

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David and Yiorgos at the Cuba/Ireland plaque on Calle O' Reilly.

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Sia Kara. Lovely spot.

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Malecon again.

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David and Yiorgos on their last day.

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Me on my last evening.

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Suckling pig

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Montecristo Dumas

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Serving up the pig and trimmings.

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Punch Joe, Rita and others.

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Last few pictures of my last day.

 

Naptime for the kids at the day care. Lovely spot.

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Dropping off a humidor for safe-keeping.

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Lunch with the Gibraltarians

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Paris with Nakamura

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Great stuff Andy! Thanks for posting

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.And that people......is how you do it in Havana. :spotlight:

No one has mastered it better than Andy 

............I'm exhausted just reading it :D

Bloody brilliant Andy :clap:

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