Day 65 – Viñales

I can’t believe I am going to write it, but I was cold last night… In Cuba! So I slept terribly. That always makes for a good start to the day.

A taxi came for us and we headed to our first stop, cueva de indio. This is a cave we could walk and have a boat ride through. Super touristy, but very beautiful and impressive. My Spanish wasn’t quite good enough to understand the entire tour, but I enjoyed the guide pointing out some of the rock formations such as the sea horse and the snake.

Next up was the historical mountain artwork. Next to “dos hermanas” that you can climb and a lot of yucca plants (yum!). The weather was just about holding out for us to head to Viñales’ all famous viewpoint. This was really quite breathtaking and gave pause for thought.

It’s a shame the toilets there were breathtaking in another way….but hey, the was a guy riding a cow!

Our final part organised for the school trip was the tobacco farm. It was a demonstration farm rather than a working one and I can tell you it stinks! It was interesting to hear (in Spanish so I missed some) about the process I.e. the the parts of the plant, the fermentation process, that the main vein of the leaf has 70% of the nicotine and isn’t used in cigars, but boy did I struggle to breathe!

This was all finished up by 12pm. Getting hungry, we assumed we were off for lunch back at the casa and then onto the optional horse riding tour. Naturally, as I left my appropriate clothes at the casa, this was wrong and the rain set in….big style…..

My horse, Luciero has attitude. It hated all the other horses and had to go at the back after almost bucking me off three times. I was as miserable as he was slipping and sliding in the mud, soggy up on his back. I was glad to get to our first stop, a real tobacco farm and typically the rain stopped!

Here, we were given the most amazing cocktail from a coconut (coconut juice, pineapple, honey, lemon and rum from guava). Of course we had to try a cigar and we were given some history and information, in English!!!!

The sun has finally decided to shine and you got to enjoy the views of yucca, mango, coffee, tobacco, other fruit and animals and of course the mountains. Luceiro mellowed out at the back of the group trailing behind allowing me to soak up the sunshine.

After a quick lunch stop (sooooo much food!), we headed to a cave that had a lake we could swim in inside. Of course I only had the denim shorts I was in that had only just dried off from the rain so I just went in for the walk. It was amazing to see, but the water was cold and soon everyone was ready to get back on the horses and head back.

On the way back, Müriel was thrown from her horse. I was behind her and could do nothing but witness the whole thing. It was terrible to watch but other than bruises she was ok and the horse only had a few grazes. We made an impromptu stop for her to try and clean herself….naturally I made animal friends in this time…

Half the group decided they would walk the rest of the way rather than risk the spirited horses and the muddy group. I was determined to stick it out with Luciero. He was a little unpredictable but I was testing my luck….For a change, it pulled through. I had a successful four hour ride!

Back at the casa, we had dinner and played cards into the night. You would think by now I would have started to get better and stop losing!!!! 

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