We were heading to Pinar del Rio about a two and a half hours ride out of Havana. Driving out to the outskirts gives one the opportunity to experience the beautiful landscape and the lifestyle in these villages.
Just a glimpse as we work our way to the province of Pinar Del Rio.
In Vinales valley there is a mural “Mural de la Prehistoria” depicting World history up until human age. This mural can be seen from a distance as it is etched on a rock wall.
Tobacco farms offer another point of interest in Vinales so we visited Benito’s farm. The amazing thing is that the government gets 90 percent of the products. I guess that goes with the Cuban concept that no one is rich so the farmers only needs ten percent.
A visit to a family owned Organic farm, Finca Agroecologica and having lunch with the food from the farm to the table is another great experience. You had better have a big appetite as they tend to serve in large amounts in Cuba. Eating at Finca Paraiso is like eating in the owner’s home sitting on the porch overlooking the farm In silence valley. Food is served family style where the different dishes are brought to the table and you take what you want, I guess something buffet style. The anti stress cocktail is delicious and is made of a mixture of ingredients from the farm you can add rum if you so desire, needless to say our male members had no problem. Here this cocktail is served first. The meal included rice, beans, vegetables, chicken, roasted pork, cassava, pumpkin etc. and you eat to your hearts content.
Guests are welcome to tour the farm and the above pictures are the vegetative view you have during your dining experience.
Another point of interest is the Hemingway Museum at Finca Vivian perched on a modest hillside with a beautiful landscape along the driveway heading to the main building. There are a number of vendors outside where one can purchase souvenirs related to Hemingway and others reflective of the Cuban culture. With time constraints we did not do an indoor tour but was able to see inside the house and got a reasonable view of the exhibits. His study for example is intact with books on the shelves. Other collection of hanging animals a room was noted with a shelve of boots and other community areas.
A visit to theSan Alejandro Art School gave us a chance to interact with students while they were working at their craft sculpting, painting etc.
We now move unto Jose Fuster’s home, studio and museum displaying work done in ceramic. As you Approach the neighborhood you can see evidence of his work on fences and get a glimpse of the roof of his home. The home has three levels all adorned with his art. There are shops in the vicinity where you can purchase souvenirs. I found the art interesting but a bit overwhelming.
We visited a community project of children trained in skills for the circus. These kids are only able to participate in this project while they are in school and maintains good academic record. Amazing the talent and skills at this age.
Havana has its nightlife several clubs with live entertainment and cost varies depending on whether food is included but cover charge generally includes one or two alcoholic beverage and entrance fee. Of course there is the famous Tropicana situated in a large tent like venue. Pictures are allowed for a cost but a very nice venue with an extravagant show. Some seats can be a bit uncomfortable depending on the group size or depending on the cost of your ticket.
We will visit Santiago and Cienfuegos next