We really didn’t know what to expect after Havana. Our minds were already so blown by the hustle and bustle of the swarming city that we could barely grasp the concept of the “tranquilo”-ness people kept talking about with Vinales.
As our bus pulled up after a lengthy swaying bus ride through the mountains, Amelia, our casa particular owner, was waiting for us with a bright and cheery smile. In her hand, a plastic rose and a sign in bright red that read: Shauna and Eric.
This was going to be great.
We were traveling like those generations before, without a guidebook and we were placed in good hands – by networks.
We spent the next few days in tranquil bliss. Honking horns were replaced by the clickety clacking of horse and buggy coming down the road with a smile and a “Buenos Dias”. The decaying (yet beautiful) buildings were taken over by green, luscious mountains. I was ready for the small town life and it was placed right in front of me.
One evening we took a sunset ride through Valle del Silencio (Valley of Silence) and was taken aback by the raw beauty of nature. Golden hour poured through the valley with a warm light that I had never seen before. Mist was rolling in through the hills and the silhouette of a golden steer just made it picture perfect. Could it get any better?
Why yes it could.
Shaun and I like to take a “when in Rome” approach to traveling. And there, in front of us, was Rome indeed. In this tiny little shack a man of the countryside/“hombre del campesino” showed us his trade in tobacco. Rolling the cigar between his rough, working hands, he skillfully created a masterpiece.
1.) 90% of all tobacco goes to the government. 10% stays with the farmer to do as they wish.
Pure tobacco. Just like the working people smoke it.
I trembled as I brought the freshly rolled cigar to my mouth.
Was I really going to do this? I don’t smoke – EVER – but when would I ever get this opportunity again?
I lit the cigar and puffed. The most amazing flavor filled my mouth.
I passed it to Shaun, the other non-smoker, and he cracked a blissful smile as well.
We were living the dream.
Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Thomson.co.uk