Cuba 2007: Day 14

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The map of Vinales in the Lonely Planet book of Cuba has several footpaths marked on it. Although the dotted lines used to indicate the footpaths are only roughly marked, I decide to try the footpath that goes north out of the village of Vinales. After a while, the map shows a junction where by turning right you can join the road into the Valle de San Vicente just before the first cave. I can get a drink there and either walk along the road back to Vinales or catch the green bus.

I leave the Hotel at 1004 and stock up with water in the town. So I depart northwards out of Vinales at 1038. Luckily the footpath out is clearly marked on the Lonely Planet map.

The route passes through a row of houses. A few of these are casa particulars. A man talks to me in Spanish. But I don't what he is saying.

Then fields are met and the path gets more muddy and is sometimes full of water.

A footpath joins from the left. This is marked on the Lonely Planet "map". Roughly I've done 0.75K in 20 minutes, and so that is about 3K per hour. But the map isn't that good to be doing these sort of calculations.

I have my compass with me and am checking the bearings with what's given on the "map". The route turns from north to west. Soon after a lot of horses pass me. The people are from Slovenia and the person leading the tourists is the man who had spoken to me earlier. He recognises me.

The turn to the right comes 10 minutes early according to my estimated walking speed and the "map". I wonder whether it is the roughness of the calculations. I decide to press on and see whether it is materialises 10 minutes later. There is a another turn right at about time. But I'm worried that one of the "mogotes" (hills) shown on the Lonely Planet map is not visible on the ground.

I decide that maybe all that is wrong. I decide not to go to San Vicente but instead to carry on to the "campismo" (camping site) at Dos Hermanas. This I can reach by turning south of this path some time later.

However, the route gets worst: there are small streams to splash through but worst is that it is getting a lot muddier with mud about 4 to 6 inches thick.

Later at about 1208 there is a considerable amount of water. I decide that it is too difficult to get across. It's sort of a mini lake covering the path and the surrounding countryside. I'm not sure where I am. I decide to go back.

I walk back along the path but take the the next major turn right which is going south which is the right direction for the campismo. But it just leads to a farm where there are a lot of people. I ask the nearest person, an old man, where the campismo is. He explains with his hand and a lot of Spanish that I have to go along the path (the one with lots of water) and then turn left off it.

I thank him and start to return to the main path. Between the farm and the main path, a young lad driving a horse and cart comes pass me asking me in Spanish whether I want a lift. I can't work out whether he has deliberately just started off to help me or to get money from me or because he has work to do in that direction. I decline his offer.

When I reach the main path, he turns left (along the path to the water) and stops and just in guess he hasn't been clear he just says "omnibus". I say "no gracias". On the spot I argue to myself that I don't know how far he is going. It would be a waste of time going to this side of the water and if he dropped me the other side of the water I would be in a mess if I couldn't find the Campismo.

So I say no and turn right back the way I came. Later I think I was not adventurous enough. Later three horses pass me. The last one has the old man that had given me instructions. He says a lot of Spanish. I guess he finds it strange I'm here.

After taking one wrong turn on the way back, I get to Vinales at 1313. I decided to go to the Polo Montanez for a drink and a sandwich con jamon and queso. I'm exhausted and need a rest before doing the mile back to the hotel.

On my back, afer exchanging "Olas", someone passing me comments (in Spanish) on the state of my legs. I look down and they are caked in mud.

It's a lazy afternoon. Later I get some sleep.

I'm later at the same restaurant as I've eaten the last two nights. I'm greeted by the waiter who helped me when I was suffocating. He asks me in Spanish how I am.

I have chicken, ice cream and a coffee.

The same band (called Guacachason) are playing as were playing last night except that there's two other members. I ask the percussionist what the small metal drum is. It's my favourite instrument and I've been tryingh to find out for sometime. He says something that sounds like "chinchairo". He asks me in Spanish whether I play music. I say no. I wish I had got him to write doiwn the word. I buy a copy of their CD (which I'd declined the night before).

I then go the Bar El Vinalero. A man and a woman in tow move from one end of the patio to opposite where I am. He tries to fix me up with her. The man says the music here is good. I wonder who will start first, the band here or the band across the road at the ArtEx. Yesterday the latter didn't start until 2130.

The band here (called Aldo del Rio) starts just after 2100. Sometime later the band across the road starts. I move to a table closer as the music from across the road is loud. The man trying to fix me up with the woman plays percussion for the band. So that's why he said the music was good!

Three young men arrive and sit at the table behind me. I find out that two of them were born in Chile but have recently moved to Brixton in London. They are brothers and one has just completed a degree in jazz and the other is still doing it. They are members of a group and their web site is at Between numbers of the band, I talk to one of them (Felipe).

The third one is from Cyprus. I mention I've been to the Greek part of the island a few times. He says he has relatives in the north and that he is now allowed to visit them. He takes some photos of the band and I get his e-mail address to see if I can get his photos. Felipe says he's gone through a lot of money whilst being here a few days. I wonder whether to buy a round. In the end I decide to buy the CD of the band.

Here is a link to today's photos. Click the big i button in the centre of the screen to get the titles of each slide.

Here is a link to tomorrow's diary.
Here is a link to yesterday's diary.
Here is a link to the index of the days.