Right up until the day we left for Cuba we still weren’t sure we would be able to get our visas. The hurricane a couple of weeks before had come close to completely canceling our family trip, but even with this new hurdle we decided to take a chance. I’m so glad we did! What an incredible trip.  (click the photo above to enlarge)

Cuba-car-web

Havana is a beautiful city, rich with history and tradition. And rum! If you know me then you know how I love my rum and I was not disappointed. I was able to bring back a few bottles for my own rum tasting at home. If you get a chance to try this, the seven year old Legendario was my favorite, hands down. If I’d had room in my suitcase I would have bought all. the. rum.

Our first tour gave us a good overview of the city, but also took us to a terrible a craft market full of junk. I had given up on that stop when I found a little stand in the back corner with this sweet etching that captures one of the balconies overlooking the streets and squares.

After that we toured with local company for the rest of our time and it was a great decision. Our guide, Isbel, showed us all around town and somehow our driver Manolo managed to thread his 57 Chevy through the narrow streets of old Havana without a scratch.

The textures and colors were amazing, covering doors and buildings in ways that made me want to stop, drop, and paint. The street art was raw and beautiful.

We were lucky enough to have lunch at a local restaurant that also had live music. We tried some excellent traditional dishes including Ropa Vieja (shredded beef) and Fricase de Cerdo (a Creole style wonderful pork dish), and a refreshing drink called Guarapo (sugarcane pineapple and lime) plus OF COURSE a lip smacking and very strong Cuba Libre!

Our dessert was the biggest surprise, Dulce De Papaya (papaya with melted cheese). I grew up eating papaya and have never heard of this. It was delicious! Anyone know what kind of cheese they use? I’m having trouble figuring that out.

I wanted to see a cabaret even though I imagine it’s the Hawaiian tourist luau of the Cuban culture. We decided we wanted to have a little more intimate experience so we went to the Hotel Nacional de Cuba’s Cabaret Parisian which is the smaller than the enormous production at Cabaret Tropicana. After an excellent Mojito the show was a blur of color, movement, music and joy. It felt a little like watching one of my paintings coming to life.

I’m so happy that we got a chance to see this beautiful city and meet some of the locals along the way. If you get a chance to go I highly recommend it!

_____________________________________

Linda Robertson is a painter and the author of the Embracing Encaustic book series. She offers live encaustic workshops in her Portland, Oregon studio as well as online encaustic classes.

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RobertsonWorkshops.com online video classes bring Linda Robertson, an art teacher with international experience, right into your studio. Work at your own pace and watch the videos as many times as you want for a whole year.

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My Books: Embracing Encaustic Series

There are now two books under the Embracing Encaustic title, Learning to Paint with Beeswax and the new title Advanced Techniques for Mixing Media, each focusing on specific encaustic techniques. Between the two books there are a total of 70 artists who share their work, reveal their personal painting methods and explain why they are compelled to make the work they do.Find out more and purchase them online here.

Embracing Encaustic: Learning to Paint with Beeswax
By Linda Robertson

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What a treat for you to have the opportunity to go and take in the beauty and culture of Cuba. It looks amazing. If you figure out what the cheese is let us know. You got my foodie curiousity up now.


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