Wandering in Vinales

We’re staying in a casa particular. A house owned by a local. We are in a little row of rooms at the back of Maria and her husband very modest house.

It’s a way the locals can make a little money. They set up a little bnb type of thing. Sometimes in their house or as in this case behind it. The owners pay the Government about 100CUC a month and can rent it for around 20-40CUC a night.

So the better ones would rent well.

Vinales is a small town in the Tobacco growing area a few hours from Havana. It’s in a Valley with Jurassic Park style mountains around. It’s popular with young people ( as Cuba is generally) who travel and who like to climb.

Our hosts gave us breakfast on their terrace and were so accommodating. Fruit, omelette & toast.

Then we set off to the Main Street with Alex to meet our local guide.Pero turned out to be a lovely, earnest former English teacher. We set out down one of the side street with Pero stopping every few minutes to point out the fruit trees or the plants growing in the gardens. Pero loves all things botanical.

We continued down the path passing colourful houses , oxen carts and locals riding horses.

We walked along the shaded country road until we reached the tobacco farm.

Pero explained the growing system, the type of leaves , the government control 90% of the crop goes to the Gov for a fairly low price. The farmer keeps the rest which he can the use to produce his own cigars but he can’t label them. So he can’t make too much money no matter how hard he works.

We heard about the drying, stripping, bundling and rolling. We moved into the barn to see leave hanging- for a year.

then into the house to meet Clara

and her husband who rolled us a cigar. What fun.

Then we were taught how to inhale and away we went.

I enjoyed the process as you can see here!

Now I’m recovering before our salsa class this afternoon.

After Salsa it was dinner at an eco restaurant. More later.

Internet hard!