An early morning bus meant we could skip the 4 course breakfast (thank god), and got us to Valle de Viñales around lunch. We were met at the bus station by Carlos our Casa host who took back to settle in to what ended up being a little impractical as it felt like we were intruding in their house. We decided to acquaint ourselves with the town before committing to any of the more active options so we had a bit of a wander around before settling in for some lunch and a few beers. Unfortunately there weren't a lot of options in the small town, with a mix of bad service or a lack of atmosphere. It seems that, like a lot of places in Cuba the real action happens after 10pm when the live music starts. So although a little disappointed we headed back to the Casa for a lobster dinner and a few more drinks.
After dinner we wandered into town to confirm that the previously sleepy bars came alive... and they did. The government run cultural centre - which we had visited earlier and was dead - was just getting ready for a live act to start: a 9 piece Cuban band with an extremely tall lead singer. Armed with mojitos (probably the least exciting one we have had in Cuba, but still drinkable), we sat back and enjoyed the music with another storm as a backdrop. After a few songs these seemingly random guys got up to do a bit of solo dancing in the rain (no one else was dancing). They were both wearing shorts and thongs, and one was wearing sunnies. This look led us to assume they were some tourists getting up to practice their salsa moves they had learnt, the moves they were doing supported this. However as the song went on they started to throw a few more moves in, which were going suspiciously well with the song, perhaps they weren't so random after all... Then 2 girls came out and they started to salsa with them, and pretty well! It was very entertaining, and we still can't figure out if it was completely staged or whether they were both dancers who had maybe come to cuba for a bit of a dance holiday (a lot of people do, either to learn or just dance with all the locals). Either way in was enjoyable. Unfortunately though the band took a break and just didn't come back on. We weren't sure why, perhaps the rain was causing difficulties with their equipment, whatever it was it seems that the best thing to do is shrug your shoulders and say, well that is the Cuban way and head back to the Casa.
|Selfie on the rooftop 'terrace' at our Casa|
Day 2 we awoke with slightly fuzzy heads from the mojitos the night before (good mojitos don't seem to have caused it before so it must have been the quality not the quantity ;) but we powered on through another fruity breakie to build up our energy for a day of biking around the picturesque Valle Viñales area. After a leisurely start we got on our way and and meandered west from town until we got to a 'prehistoric mural' wall painting, the catch being the subject was prehistory, not the painting. Never the less it was pretty impressive seeing a mural that covered an entire cliff, even if it was a complete eyesore (different strokes for different folks and all that). We then headed back to town and south up a hill to get what to the best viewing spot in the Valle Viñales area. We took in the view with a nice long break and some Taranja refrescos, which area locally made equivalents of Coke and Fanta. It was then back downhill through the town and then up north to see what the scenery provided. Again it was more pretty spectacular scenery but this time we didn't really have a destination in mind but were enjoying riding through such amazing scenery. After going as far as we felt were could and still be able to make the return journey we turned back and headed back to town for some lunch (lucky we had such a massive breakie) and then to our Casa for a long rest before dinner. We decided to have a quiet night in prep for the early morning bus back to Havana.
|Not a bad view for the ride|
|The Mural de la Prehistorica|
|A well earned Naranja break|
|And the view we were enjoying it with|
|And one more|