Welcome to our blog! This week we get to grips with Viñales…our second to last scheduled stop in Cuba.
Viñales was looking pretty sweet as we hopped off the bus (literally – infected blood pooling in your lower leg can seriously impede mobility). Sure, we were immediately mobbed by every Casa owner in Viñales the moment we stepped through the door but that’s pretty standard so we weren’t too bothered. We’d done this twice before, man. We were ready.
Plus Johnny – our salsa teacher from Baracoa – had called ahead so we knew there was a lovely lady waiting with a card that said our names on it. We found her and headed to our home for the next few days.
The new casa was even better than Trinidad! There was a classic car gleaming outside, a dog (Toby) who looked like a teddy bear bounding up to us for attention and a turtle we could stroke on our way past. There was also air con. We like air con.
Once we’d settled in we sat down for a quick snack and a drink with our new host. Having met so many interesting people in Cuba we were keen to find out more about more about her experience of this fascinating country.
Over about three hundred thousand calories of fresh fruit, bread, coffee and assorted other food, Maribel told us about herself. She hadn’t always lived in Cuba – she had married a Spaniard and actually lived in Madrid for years. It hadn’t worked out and back she was in Cuba, only now bemoaning the lack of European comforts. Including the soya mince she had imported to Havana! Bingo – one happy vegetarian who knew she wouldn’t need to explain that she didn’t eat fish again! It turned out that Cubans can leave Cuba provided they have a mountain of paperwork or a flexible attitude to the law and a fair bit of cash. What was interesting about Maribel was that she had been able to come back and seemed to be living quite a westernised lifestyle – evident in the décor of her house.
Maribel on the patio:
We polished off our pineapple (locally grown, thanks to Viñales’ unique microclimate), haggled down the price of our room to 15CUC ($15) a night including breakfast, and headed to the rocking chairs on the patio to get ready to explore with a new perspective and a list of recommendations of things to see and do.
Oh and to stroke Toby!
Next week on our blog we encounter zombies in a cave, go horse riding and encounter the REAL Cuban hospital…