Carlos Robaina, Alejandro Robaina's son, was all hospitality when I visited their national cigar shop.
Everyone had to have a picture with the Hawaiian tobacco man. Every cigar shop I've ever visited, except South Pacific Pipes and Cigar in Honolulu, has been filled with great people, and great cigars. The shops in Havana are no different. Friendly and hospitable people all around. Maybe some day, I'll have a locker here!
After a 3 hour drive, we arrived at Finco El Pinar Alejandro Robaina. The history at this tobacco farm is not something you can put into words. It's worthy of a book.
The Patron Saint of Tobacco. Must I say more? The professional baseball team in Pinar Del Rio was playing in their Country's version of the World Series when I visited. Their logo is the tobacco leaf.
Alejandro Robaina passed away last year, but he left a legacy, which is clearly evident at the farm.
This place has hosted many from around the world, and many great cigars have been left to ashes here.
I was kindly treated to explanations on how tobacco is traditionally produced in Cuba.
Irochi Robaina, Alejandro Robaina's grandson now runs the farm. We bonded easily. We are both about the same age, both farm tobacco, and both have young children growing up on the land. He is another Yankee fan, but we both agreed that tobacco, baseball, and women are the universal languages spoken by cigar men!
Irochi Robaina spent many years as a youngster working in the Partagas factory. Like all good business men, he learned from the bottom up. Here he chooses leaf for a lonsdale cigar that he would roll for us in perfect fashion.
A great room at the farm, filled with history from the farm. I made him take off the Yankee hat for at least one photo!
A bunch of cigar loving folk. Farmers, a lawyer, a young engineer, and an agronomist who has seen his day in the dirt!
One can only imagine the scene on this farm during the 1930's and the sounds that this Victrola played.
Irochi Robaina and one of his beautiful daughters at the family farm.
Aloha from Cuba! Les Drent of Kauai Cigar Company, and Juan Carlos Brizuela of Costa Rica. Juan is an engineer at my partner's factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. Museum of the Revolution stands in the background.
The Capitol building in Havana, Cuba
The architecture in Cuba is awe inspiring. Eroding yes, but simply amazing. Museum of the Revolution
Quiet public park space near the National Museum. Books are still being made by hand in Cuba, and many are sold on the street.
The entrance to Palacio de los Capitanes Generales features a statue of Christopher Columbus. This museum is incredible, and features a ton of history from the 18th and 19th centuries.
More art from Palacio de los Capitanes Generales
My man Simon Bolivar, the Liberator! I love his cigars!!!
Coat of Arms on display in Cuba
Juan wasn't quite up for the fun and games, but if he's hanging with me... he has no choice!
Ernest Hemingway's old stomping grounds in Havana. Hotel Ambos Mundos. The first five chapters of For Whom the Bell Tolls was written here.
Quiet street in old Havana
Plaza Vieja established in 1559. What a splendid place early in the morning!
Everyone is a New York Yankee fan in Cuba. Including Jose Luis Argiles, who was kind enough to give us the grand tour around Cuba. He is a lawyer for the government when he's not cruizing with the Hawaiian smoking cigars at Plaza Vieja! Being a coffee farmer, I shouldn't forget to mention how good the espresso was in Havana. It might actually be the Cuban sugar that makes it exceptional.
Cuba is in the Carribean. But, being from Hawaii.... sorry, just not the same.
A view of Havana from the hotel
Coppelia in Havana is known for the best ice cream in town.
The streets and culture of Havana are filled with music.