Walkaround in the Vinales Valley, The Mural de la Prehistoria and barbecued pork.

Vinales Travel Blog

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Day 5.     April 2nd 2008.

 

 

 

 

We are not biking to day, but a nice walkaround in Vinales Valley.

 

 

The Vinales Valley was placed on The Worlds Heritage List in November 1999 both for it`s natural beauty and for the Vernacular architecture and traditions.

 

In contrast to planned architecture by architects, the building knowledge in vernacular architecture is often transported by local traditions and is thus more - but not only - based on knowledge achieved by trial and error and often handed down through the generations rather than calculated on knowledge of geometry and physics.

 

This of course does not exclude architects from using vernacular architecture in their designs or being firmly based in their regional vernacular architecture.

 

The Vinales Valley is encircled by mountains, and its landscape is interspersed with dramatic rocky outcrops. Traditional techniques are still in use for agricultural production, particularly of tobacco.

 

The quality of this cultural landscape is enhanced by the vernacular architecture of its farms and villages, where a rich multi-ethnic society survives, illustrating the cultural development of the islands of the Caribbean, and of Cuba.

 

The main attraction of Vinales is the surrounding countryside. The village it self is worth a visit though.   Vinales and especially the surrounding valley are among the absolute top attractions of Cuba.

 

 

Vinales is about 40 km north of Pinar del Rio in the Pinar del Rio province.

Visiting a coffee farmer and his family

 

The valley is stunning. The flat land, full of tobacco and palm trees is scattered with 20-30 m high bumps called mogotes. These are the remnants of the former plateau which is almost entirely washed away by water during the last couple of million years.

 

The process is comparable with that in Cappadocia, (Turkey) but here's the mogotes are completely covered with green vegetation.

 

We had a nice 7 km walk with our guide Martin from the University of Havana. 

 

He told us about the area, it`s agriculture and the florae in a very humoristic and entertaining way.

 

We went by a cactus full of egg (so it seems) I asked him if the Cubans had solved the question about who was first; the hen or the egg.

 

He told us about the tradition farmers widows had.

The egg came first, just look at this, eggs growing on a cactus
   Widows decorate some of her outdoor cactuses with egg shells. 

 

The egg shells tell the surroundings that she is ready and looking for a new husband and that suitors are welcome to propose. 

I think it is a rather nice tradition.

 

The red farmland and unique microclimate produce the best cigars in the world. Some tobacco farms are set up for tourist tours.

 

During the day we visited a tobacco farmer who thought us to make cigars. 

 

Like everywhere in Cuba, the people in Vinales are very friendly.

 

The village, with its colonial main street has a nice and friendly atmosphere.

 

We were also invited to visit a farmer’s house; his family served us different kinds of fresh fruit and coffee grown on their marks.

The Mural de la Prehistoria
 

 

And of cause we all bought coffee to bring home.

 

Walking 3 or 4 km from the town Vinales by Dos Hermanas-mogoten we reached The Mural de la Prehistoria.

 

 

You love it or you hate it (most visitors do the second thing). The Mural de la Prehistoria is a brightly coloured painted side of a mogote.

 

The paintings have been made by Leovigildo Gonzales. They depict the evolution from ammonites to Homo sapiens.  It`s a kind of psychedelic.

 

I think this is the worst tourist attraction I saw in Cuba 

 

In 1961 Fidel Castro visited a beautiful valley a few kilometres west of Viñales. He commissioned that the cliff should be painted with snails, dinosaurs, and a family of cavepersons, in garish colours!

 

There's a restaurant, bar, and gift shop.

Time for lunch
 

 

The guidebook says that the food in the restaurant is excellent and the live music is good. We didn`t try it.  You can also try horseback riding if you like.

 

After visiting The Mural de la Prehistoria we were picked up by our bus.  The driver had arranged for lunch with a local farmer and his family.

 

As I wrote earlier the Cuban people is very friendly and hostage.  They also want a part of the tourist industry. 

 

The farmers “rent” their land and have to “give” the state 80% of what they grow.  Most of the farmers grow tobacco.

 

The farmers are allowed to have chickens, hens and pigs without reporting to the government.  Lots of farmers do this to have an extra income.

 

The farm we visited was very simple as my photos will show you. 

 

I think he had invited his whole family to meet us.

 

We were served grilled pork with different kinds of vegetables and local beer.

Wow, burning his ba..s?
 

 

The Cubans really know hove to barbecue, especially pork.  The lunch was delicious.

 

After lunch we headed back to our hotel to relax some hour by the pool before dinner.

 

This evening we were entertained by some local dancers and I were very concerned about the mail dancers. 

 

Some of us women want to shave or vax some of our hair.  To be honest I do my legs and armpit, oh good I don’t think it is true that I`m telling you this, I almost feel ashamed. 

 

This mail dancer burned his legs, arms, armpits and oh my good; Hi even burned his bikini line.  Or was it his ba..s?

 

Please guys don’t try this you can get in deep trouble.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Visiting a coffee farmer and his f…
Visiting a coffee farmer and his …
The egg came first, just look at t…
The egg came first, just look at …
The Mural de la Prehistoria
The Mural de la Prehistoria
Time for lunch
Time for lunch
Wow, burning his ba..s?
Wow, burning his ba..s?
Tobacco plants
Tobacco plants
House for drying tobacco
House for drying tobacco
Drying tobacco
Drying tobacco
Oh my favorites, cows
Oh my favorites, cows
Red and green landscape
Red and green landscape
Showing his beauty
Showing his beauty
Limestone
Limestone
The Mureal de la Prehistoria
The Mureal de la Prehistoria
Simple homes
Simple homes
Simple cocking
Simple cocking
Nice lunch
Nice lunch
The farmers family
The farmers family
Cute children
Cute children
Nice frog
Nice frog
Vinales
photo by: lizzy1987