There’s something pretty special about waking up, watching the sun come up and having an espresso and a cigar in Cuba. After enough caffeine to get me started for the day we headed downstairs for our buffet breakfast. Some omelets, more espresso, various pastries and our morning ritual was complete.
Everyone was feeling better after a full nights rest and a hot shower, now it was just a matter of figuring out our plans for the day. With the big event being the Partagas welcome dinner no one was feeling particularly adventurous for the afternoon.
We decided to head back to the Partagas LCDH for some more Cuban box hunting and to pick up enough cigars to get us through the week … or at least half the week. After many hours of browsing and smoking, everyone headed back to the Nacional to relax, sit by the pool, have a nap or just smoke before the evening festivities kicked off.
Some other friends who were on their own trip came by the Nacional and I enjoyed catching up and sharing our adventures to date.
Everyone gathering in the lobby as we wait for our transportation to show up.
The ride was about 30 minutes and took us along the coast on the way to Old Havana. Approaching the square we could already hear the revelry and music.
It was almost sensory overload. Tables set up throughout the square with white tablecloths.
Some more espresso to keep things going. It was going to be a long night and I was going to need to pace myself.
Two great guys from Germany.
We sat down for dinner, and I would say for the most part everyone enjoyed each course. There was more than enough wine and various Cuban rums to keep the jubilations flowing. Throughout each course there were speeches on stage, and we received a great sampler pack of limited edition and regional edition cigars.
Then they called a representative from each group on stage.
It was to be a skills competition, Cuba style. (Apologies for the focus hunting. It was my first time using video and at this point I was about 12 or 13 rums in.)
They formed a giant conga line, and we were dragged (by lovely Cuban women) into the dance.
The dinner concluded and we all ferried back into our cabs and onto the Nacional. The Nacional would end up being the rally point for most of the people at the dinner.
We drank rum, and enjoyed cigars into the late hours of the morning. In the party festival some of us had let it slip our minds that we were supposed to be up early in the morning for a factory tour and a tour of a humidor facility.