Sunday October 25th
We awoke to see a wonderful calming sunrise over the rooftops.
The bedroom had 3 openings – a door to a delightful enclosed mini-terrace, a window towards the east and the main door gave onto a terrace where breakfast was laid out – plates of fresh sliced fruit (papaya, grapefruit, banana and pineapple), sliced baguette style bread with Tupperware of membrillo, guayaba jam and butter. Then a delicious omelette and finally flasks of Cuban coffee, hot water and sweet milk. Tea bags were available too – normal and camomile and lime leaf.
The scenery was stunning with the odd Casa, many shacks and small plots of land with people working in them, including oxen ploughing and tilling with wooden Heath Robinson contraptions.
The caves were large and had well-lit paths. We came to an underground river and waited for a boat and guide to take us through the cool caverns which we learnt were home to albino fish and butterfly bats.
The only other visitors, who shared our boat, were a wealthy Cuban family with two teenage children who were well-dressed and, I guess, out for a Sunday adventure.
The boat ride ended just before the river dropped away….luckily the boat stopped just before we went over the edge…
I must admit, I was a little bit scared we’d go over! As we climbed out of the boat, there was a café but we thought we’d head off and continue on our way.
Bill kept adding rum till he got it how he wanted…..all this for $2CUC!
While Bill was mixing the cocktail, Sally ventured into the cave a slight distance and learnt that it was the hiding place for runaway slaves.
It was getting pretty hot by this time so we decided to ride back to the Casa to cool off. We had a light snack then headed off through town to discover the other landmark in the vicinity- the psychedelic Mural de la Prehistoria
This is a 400′ long cliff face mural of dinosaurs and sea monsters painted in the 1960s by Leovigildo González. You can see it from a distance away so we didn’t cycle the whole way to it.We also saw some tobacco drying barns and more oxen tilling….
However, after two unsuccessful attempts, including one where we cycled past a shack with a solar panel in the yard and scared a piglet which ran out in front of us,
But the views were spectacular and we took our drinks down to the terrace overlooking the mogotes across the valley and soaked up the sun and the panoramic scene before us.
We cycled back down the steep hill and back to the Casa where we met Maqueira’s son, Dani, who loved practising his English with us whilst dinner was being prepared in the little kitchen. He took full advantage of me being a teacher and asked lots of questions about English grammar! We had mojitos freshly mixed to Dani’s own recipe, followed by a delicious lobster dinner.
Later, Midali, who was the owner of the Casa, returned from a month in Argentina. She was lovely. That also explained all the comments in the Visitors’ Book about someone called Midali. It appears that Maqueira was just looking after the casa in her absence. So we say goodbye to Viñales and look forward to the next stop……Trinidad.