Courtyards are all over the place in Havana, and all sorts of things happen there. They are places to socialise, dance, or enjoy a quiet moment with oneself.
I accidentally stumbled upon a dancing troupe rehearsing some kind of performance which was a mixture of music, acting, and dance. These unique individuals had an entrancing energy about them, captivating most people passing by, making them slow down and gaze at the acts:
a girl enjoying her churros peacefully;
a gang of very cool hipsters discussing something unrelated to the performance which served as a backdrop to their conversation, and who were later joined by more people;
two school boys cracking jokes.
Everyone shared the performers’ joy and dramatic gestures, and nobody was in a hurry to go anywhere – they were simply present in the moment. The courtyard radiated a sense of inclusivity and belonging, and it was then that I understood that it did not really matter what language one spoke or did not speak – emotions are universal.
Another favourite courtyard of mine was a peaceful literary park with statues of famous authors like Hans Christian Andersen – it was just the right place to read a book. That courtyard must have had a special energy, as countless cats lazed around the area.
It was there where I met was a strict-looking guard who actually adored the kittens he was surrounded by.
And then there was the university, which had the most beautiful grounds I had ever seen. The trees seemed to contain more wisdom than libraries ever could.