His stilts plunged into the bay. The look reverberates with the sun reflecting in the water or lost in the distant mountains. A few meters away, the boats unload their precious cargo or cruise reveals its distinctive looks. On one side, the boys exercise their muscles playing basketball.
While you are enjoying the conversation in that environment, you can try the Grilled lobster, shrimp enchilada, snapper … or perhaps prefer rice with seafood, spiced by chatinos (deep fried bananas) and Daiquiri.
The service is provided in the two currencies circulating in Cuba now -CUC and CUP-, “everything with utmost courtesy.” We were unable to verify this, but so says José Merino, manager of the restaurant Nautical Club in the Bay of Santiago de Cuba. Opens at 10:00 am and closes only at midnight. .
This place began to languish since the seventies of the last century … and ended in ruins. Few years back, some still risked to reach its platform walking on rusted beams, either to remember old times, or to steal a kiss in its corners.
Indeed, the Santiago people never resigned themselves to losing such a unique place. Linked to the sea gate of the city, the Alameda Michaelsen and its history, five years ago was rescued from abandonment, salt, laziness … and returned with new features for both locals and visitors.
A rented house in the late nineteenth by Mr. Roberto Mason and his friends to dock their boats in their properties was the genesis. A larger size place, known as “Baños de Valiente” replaced it, until April 10, 1893, when the Nautical Club is installed with a remarkable membership.
Precious woods, side corridors, spacious arcades, luxury furniture and protection of vessels in its basements. Such is the picture that photographs of its early decades return.
Successive extensions provide it with gymnastics hall, baths, lockers; as well as items of boats sails, oars, yachts and other craft various types. Filled areas allowed installing sports fields.
The Nautical Club as recreational sports society only yielded to the “Havana Yacht Club,” says the press at the time. Although it was less exclusive than the capital one, its membership was approved by the board and required its members to pay a fee.
In the sixties, the installation was Head Regional Directorate of Sports and consequently hosted events of various types and was the scene of others, from the grassroots to international level.
The Nautical Club is a witness of transformations to celebrate half a millennium of its foundation. Place with personality within the vibrant surroundings of the Bay of Santiago de Cuba. Perhaps there after crossing the bridge over the water, you can live an unforgettable moment.
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