Friday - - Travel -

The in­ter­twined blood­line of New Or­leans (be­low) and Ha­vana en­com­passes a shared cul­tural and trad­ing her­itage as well as ar­chi­tec­tural sim­i­lar­i­ties. Ha­vana’s Plaza Ma­jor has echoes of Jack­son Square, and New Or­leans rag­time leg­end, Jelly Roll Mor­ton, was in­flu­enced by Cuban mu­si­cal rhythms. Day to night, the city is a feast for the senses. Stroll through the city streets and squares to get a feel for the colour­ful and of­ten di­lap­i­dated Span­ish colo­nial, Cuban Baroque ad neo­clas­si­cal build­ings (right), or soak up the lo­cal vibe along the eight kilo­me­tre-long Malecón board­walk. Fac­tor in a visit to Fábrica El La­guito, home of Co­hiba cigars, and take a city tour in a chauf­feured 1957 Chevy with a stop-off at the grand Ho­tel Na­cional for re­fresh­ments and peek at the in-house Cuban Mis­sile Cri­sis ex­hi­bi­tion. Eat at La Guar­ida, a by­gone movie lo­ca­tion-meets-hot din­ing spot on the top floor of a crum­bling Ha­vana ten­e­ment serv­ing Nueva Cocina Cubana, or en­joy the airy rooftop set­ting and grilled lob­ster of El Cocinero. Stay in a casa par­tic­u­lar (fam­ily guest­house) like Chez Nous (from Dh130) in the heart of Old Ha­vana, or sleep in the his­toric Ho­tel Am­bos Mun­dos (from Dh550), where Hem­ing­way penned For Whom the Bell Tolls. Get­ting there: Fly via Paris, Am­s­ter­dam or Is­tan­bul.

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