Around La Habana to Mariel
La Mulata to Vinales

June 1, 2015

What happened…

Andrew writes:

We set off under a sunny sky in Mariel, and cycled 7km or so to the next town to eat breakfast. There was only one cafeteria open in Mariel whereas the next town over had 5 or so open. Today was the kind of day where I didn’t mind standing in line, and then waiting 15mins for breakfast. The good cafeterias are the ones that have these two qualities. The ones with the empty queues are empty for a good reason.

The terrain featured some pretty good uphill sections today, although I would say overall it was rolling hills. The roads aren’t the best we’ve seen in our travels, but they aren’t the worst either. Traffic continues to be really light in the direction we are travelling, and oddly enough it just seems like there is more oncoming traffic than anything, although where they are coming from, and where they are going remains a mystery to me.

This region of Cuba sees a lot of precipitation at this time of year. Early in the afternoon it started to rain…the daily June afternoon thunderstorm. Usually it rains for 20-30 minutes, and then its gone. Such was the case today. We got “caught” out in it, but quickly found a good tree to sit and wait it out. Even with the rain shower, it felt like we made good time to La Mulata, over a distance of about 50km.

Arriving in La Mulata, there was immediately a Casa advertised, about 300m off the main road, towards Playa La Mulata. We got settled right away, which was for the best, because it started to rain again. This Casa is basically a big farm, with chickens, turkey, pigs, and lots of fruit-bearing trees. Jose, the owner, gave us a terrific walking tour of the “finca” (farm), including great explanations in English/Spanish on some of the silviculture techniques they use. For example, a native citrus tree such as an orange may only start bearing fruit after 5 years or so, however if they take a cutting from the tree, and add it to another kind, then they will start producing oranges in the first year.

We enjoyed talking with Jose, and with his mother-in-law who made us a “cheap” dinner, and breakfast again in the morning. We’re starting to feel more comfortable about talking with the Casa owners about our budget, before negotiating things such as the price of a room, or a meal. Usually a dinner for example, especially in this more expensive part of Cuba is $8-10CUC per person. We opted for fried chicken with rice, for only $4CUC each. We don’t mind eating the same thing every night, and usually the portions are pretty big anyways.

There isn’t any air conditioning in the room tonight, so we will have our fingers crossed that we can sleep. Personally, I’m going to enjoy the peace and quiet afforded by using only a fan. Sometimes I wish I knew how many dB the air conditioners create, as they drone loudly beside me. It can be really annoying, although quite necessary. The climate here in the north is definitely a lot more mild, and less humid than what we experienced in the south though, so I’m sure we’ll be OK.

Today’s Photographs

Around La Habana to Mariel
La Mulata to Vinales