After being introduced to the beautiful town of Viñales, the group was excited to learn about sustainable agriculture hands on! On our first day, we arrived at a farm – little did we know this was soon to become a regular thing. We were greeted with a tour of the farm: goats, pigs, chickens and more roamed about. (Including a seven-hundred pound pig, that wobbled and snorted to our delight) Then some weeding on that farm oh yeah yes sir. And weed we did! Ooooooh! The next day rolled around and onto another farm we went. We walked out to pastures surrounded by tall ‘mogotes’ (google it); fields of tobacco and beans and vegetables etc. We prepared to farm some beans but got led to a cave instead. The cave was dark and claustrophobia-inducing, beautiful too. Then we farmed some beans, black beans to be precise. We uprooted the plants and beat them with a stick — partially to loosen the beans from their pods and partially as an energy-release from all of our pent-up happiness. We ate a freshly roasted pig, and watched another cigar rolling demonstration as rewards for our “labor.”
The following day brought more farming. We walked up to a hillside yuppie-garden with all varieties of vegetables and fruits. Some group members hauled soil and tilled the earth, others pet rabbits and sampled foods… But an overall informative experience for all. Lunched at a backwoods restaurant nearby, with seemingly unlimited pineapple and mango juice. Let the good times roll?
This was the end of our farming, but we were more than ready for a weekend full of adventures. The next day the group mounted some horses for a ride through the rural back roads of Viñales. We ended up at a lake and took a swim break before exploring some more of the rolling countryside on our semi-cooperative steeds.
We congregated the following morning, ready for a day at the beach. We were all applying generous coatings of sunscreen when our very own Grant Stievater decided to knock out one of the only two front teeth he has. He was running about, frantically searching for his phone when a rogue air-conditioning-unit hit him with a cheap shot to the skull. So intense was the impact to his head, that his tooth decided to share the pain and leap from the place it belonged. Grant maintained professional composure throughout. The beach day was then cancelled for obvious reasons. Grant rushed off to sample the esteemed cuban healthcare system, and returned a few short hours later — smile looking good as new. The next day we finally were able to head to the beach. After a long and bumpy car wide, we were ecstatic to be welcomed by clear blue waves and white sand. We spent a while swimming, tanning and playing frisbee, before we head out on a boat to go snorkeling! We spent an hour admiring different kinds of beautiful fish and coral before the boat took us back to shore, and we returned to our car to head home after a great day.
Taking on the town of Viñales has been a pleasure, but we’re excited to see what future home-stays have in store! :0
Signing off for Chango,
Bryan ‘speedy-speed’ Kohler