The second day of our tour was a day trip to the countryside town of Vinales. The journey was about three hours, during which our guide Rene talked constantly. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how much you enjoy three hour lectures (Rene used to be a teacher) on Cuban history, our sleep pattern had not really improved since we arrived and so we managed to pass out for the majority of the journey.
Vinales is what we imagined a traditional Latin American town to look like. The houses were all one story with a front porch and all extremely brightly painted. On every porch there were rocking chairs to match the colours of the house where people sat and watched the world go by. The countryside was a mixture of red dirt farmland, Palm trees and jungle. We had been told that we were going on a three hour hike into the countryside and so had all loaded up on water and put our best (now looking very sorry for themselves) hiking clothes on. We set out at around 11am, all very aware that the incredible heat would not get any better as the walk progressed. We passed over farmland where traditional ox-drawn carts are still used to plough the fields as modern machinery is too heavy and compacts the soil to the extent that tobacco can not be grown. Crossing one of the fields we detoured into a large barn where tobacco leaves were drying. Everyone had a different idea of what it smelt like - raisins, mint, mud. Greg just thought it smelt like tobacco, but then he was never very creative. From here we visited a farmhouse where a short, fat Cuban woman made us hot local coffee on an open fire (just in case we weren't sweating enough) and we watched an elderly Cuban gentleman whose moustache made him the spitting image of Super Mario roll some cigars. We all had a puff and were told by our guide to roll the smoke around our mouth to taste the different flavours. All we tasted was smoke, but maybe it's an acquired thing.
We were now an hour into our walk (of which we'd only been walking for about 20 minutes) and so we all wondered where we would head next. We set off for another 10 minutes before stopping at another house where we all enjoyed piña coladas. The best part of this was they gave it to you with no rum in and simply put a large bottle on the table for you to add your own (remember rum is cheaper than water). From here we rolled back to the coach. The three hour walk had lasted roughly three hours, however the walking time probably amounted to less than 45 minutes. In the heat though nobody complained.