March 22, 2012

Punta Gorda, Cienfuegos, Cuba. February, 2012

The most beautiful section of the Caribbean port town of Cienfuegos extends as a peninsula out into the bay, ending in a lovely neighborhood called Punta Gorda. After lunch at the waterside Club Cienfuegos there, we walked around the docks and wound up here at the Palacio de Valle. Originally built in the early 1900s as the home of a wealthy sugar merchant, the Spanish-Moorish-Venetian fantasy later became a casino and pleasure palace (during the American gangster period) and now houses a post-Revolution upscale restaurant on its shadowy and cool first floor, a luxe cocktail lounge on its roof and in its dreamlike gardens. Fleeing a somewhat macabre songstress perched by the lobby’s out-of-tune piano (she called herself the Queen of Cuban Soul), we found this extravagant balcony. The archway, the filigree, the colors. All begged a photo.

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