Cuba April 3rd to 6th 2023; From Viñales to Havana

On April 3rd, I went back to the Finca Agroecológica El Paraíso that I had discovered the day before, but this time to eat there. And it was quite a feast with a variety of vegetables, a chicken leg, pork and lobster! Afterwards, I took a short detour to visit a tobacco farm, the Finca Macondo, which prides itself on being organic, apparently out of obligation, because it is located within the boundaries of a national park. The farm offers Montecristo Special cigars #2 and #4 in presentations in a cedar box with a small pyrography on leather or a small cylinder of the royal palm leaf. Following are the photos for this day.

It was with a heavy heart that I left Viñales on the morning of April 4th after spending ten days there. I was delighted by the kindness of the Bueno family and I am not about to forget Margaret, Paquito, their children and their grandson who reigned like a child king.

At the bus stop I caught a woman taking a picture of my bike with it’s bags. Rachel and her husband Stephen brought old bikes mounted with used parts to leave in Cuba. By chance they were sitting in the row next to me and we were able to compare our Cuban experiences. They rode less than me but almost the same route except for Pinar Del Rio and a section by taxi. They also suggested places I should see in Havana.

When I arrived at Château Miramar, I was a bit disappointed to see that I was almost 10 kilometers from old Havana which made the possibility of living the ‘nightlife’ of Havana complicated ! I was too tired to go there on the evening of the 4th and I thought about going out on the 5th. The problem was that on the 5th, I had a busy day with the visits suggested by my new American friends and at the end of the day I was exhausted ! In the morning, I pedaled west to see Fusterlandia in the village of Jaimanista. Approximately 30 years ago, the artist Fuster, inspired among others by Picasso and Gaudí, decided to leave his mark in his village by decorating several walls and his own home with ceramic. Soon his neighbors asked him to decorate their walls or even their houses, then artists and quidams from everywhere came to put their grain of salt. Since then, it’s been growing and growing. For a few pesos you can visit the artist’s house on 4 floors as well as many small workshops of local artists who offer their works. After that, I found Plaza Viejo to see the famous statue of a bald naked woman riding a huge cock with a fork reminiscent of Neptune’s trident. Following is the route I took from Viñales to Havana and my pictures of the day.

The day before my departure, I took advantage of the swimming pool of the Miramar Castle and left the hotel towards Boyeros by small roads that made me pass by luxurious embassies including that of Spain which unfolds on a huge plot. Then through small villages where poverty was at the rendezvous. About ten kilometers from my destination, I bought a small cup of fruit as delicious as thirst-quenching then in a restaurant next to the airport where I sustempted myself with a large glass of guava juice, a loathsome glass of wine and a plate of fish with brown rice. Here is the route I took from Havana to Boyeros with Strava.

When I arrived at Hostal Doña Amalia, I quickly showed my bike to put it in its box. I tried to delay my supper as late as possible because I wasn’t very hungry, but 19:30 seemed to be the limit… I took a plate of Ropa Vieja which was served with some fries, tamale, white rice with a black pea sauce, a tomato and cucumber salad with cabbage soup as an appetizer. As usual, I didn’t eat everything and still ate too much ! I spent the rest of the evening with a stomach ache that turned into a ‘tourista’. What a way to end my holiday. So I finish this fantastic adventure on an empty stomach.

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