Journey to ViÃ±ales Valley from Cayo Levisa was great. Our Taxi driver Paco, was friendly and obliging, stopping on request for food and photos. More stunning countryside and beautiful weather meant not too much disappointment that weâ€™d missed the sunbathing opportunities that Cayo Levisa offered.
Our hotel in ViÃ±ales was the lovely La Ermita. On arrival, hung around just long enough to dump bags and jump the hop on hop off ViÃ±ales tour bus. Hopped on then hopped off in town after getting a quick peak at the Mural de la Prehistoria â€“ to some a wonderful work, to others (myself included) a blot on a beautiful landscape.
In town got our first opportunity to admire more up close the resourcefully maintained classic cars from a bygone era. Had a quick bite to eat then headed off for a shortish guided hike (approx 6km / 2 hours) in the Parque Nacionale. Taking in tobacco farms, the awesome mogotes (huge steep sided dome-like limestone rocks), a cave, and much other wonderful scenery.Â Mentally parked the hot tip from the guide Alexis, about a local baseball game he was playing in the next morning.
In the evening, we hit town again to sample the local nightlife after watching a couple of guys put on an Afro-Cuban dance show at the hotel. In town while the smorgasboard of beautiful big people flung down some fancy salsa moves, the townâ€™s kids threw themselves around to the strains of Latin pop at the free disco in theÂ adjacent square. All very civilised and a fitting end to a fantastic day.
After getting up early to sample the pool which was absolutely freezing, got in up to me waist and thought â€œnahâ€ and headed back to bed. Leisurely brekky then off to watch the baseball game. Had no clue about the rules of play but my travelling buddy and sports fanatic came to the rescue and I had enough info to follow the proceedings.
They take their baseball very seriously in Cuba! It was a close match, level pegging after 9 innings and at least two hours play.
Bailed out at that point as was feeling decidedly queasy â€“ back to the hotel to throw up and crash out â€“ no dancing for me and no opportunity to finish where we left off on the ViÃ±ales bus tourâ€¦ Off to Havana in the morning.