Horses and Cowboys

Welcome back to our blog! Lots on this week this week with a visit to a cave and general horseplay in Viñales…

Post treatment, we felt ready to continue with our Cuba experience. The memory of our first trip to the Clínica Internacional in Trinidad had faded enough for us to feel ready for one of the best ways to see Viñales – by horse!

We got our casa owner to call up, changed and waited for our guide to arrive. Our horseriding experience started with a fairly long walk. This was good! We know how to walk! It then took a step into the unknown when we reached the horses and immediately remembered that neither of us actually know how to horse ride. We hopped up and hoped for the best.

horse Viñales 1

It immediately emerged that one horse was far less obedient than the other. Sod’s law held true..this was the horse being ridden by the person with the use of 50% of all attached legs. This didn’t seem like too much of a problem until we realised that the mechanics of horseriding rely on gripping firmly to the horse with your inner legs. Specifically the bits that an unlucky clumsy person could graze against a hot exhaust. Oh well, we were in for a ride…

horse Viñales 3

After a fair bit of pain and, to our sheer and absolute amazement, absolutely no falls at all, we reached stop one. A cave! We tied up the horses and climbed down the dappled path (paths are always dappled in the jungle – something about the quality of the light) and into the darkness.

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The cave was huge and gorgeous. Which all in all, is pretty standard for Cuba and, whilst fun, we enjoyed it more because of certain antics than because it was especially amazing in itself. If you find yourself there, there is a back entrance up a long slope that can be used to sneak out and ambush unsuspecting friends on their way out.

cave Viñales

More horseplay followed and we eventually found ourselves at a farm for cocktails. This we were very much on board for. Fresh coconut with miel (honey) and ron (rum) will never get old and we cannot recommend them strongly enough! Rosie grabbed a coconut and Elle spent some quality time reflecting on the strange feeling of sadness that antibiotics meant rum were a bad idea, which then became a vague apathy when she found hers were nowhere near as strong as the cocktails Rosie was knocking back. This may have been because Rosie kept topping hers up with the bottle of Havana Club which had been left on the table.

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Some more tourists arrived – the first we’d seen bar those on our bus. These ones though were Americans! A number of rules govern American citizens with regards to visiting Cuba as a result of the tensions stirred up during the Cold War and a tendency for capitalists and communists to not get on too well. In a nutshell, US citizens can receive large fines and substantial prison sentences for visiting Cuba. Ever eager to learn, we asked about this. A response of, ‘”we’re Americans – we can do whatever the hell we please” was helpful in upholding the stereotype of Americans abroad as brash ignorant cowboys. One of us immediately walked off in disgust. The other played true to the stereotype of the English by attempting to smooth over any affront with an impeccable display of politeness and suggestion of mitigating factors before hobbling off as fast as possible…

horse Viñales 2

Next week on our blog we offer up an intelligent social commentary on Cuban cigar growers’ perceptions of the international industry they contribute to… 

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