2017-01-20 / Travel

My Visit to Cuba

Conclusion: Natural Beauty
By Warner M. Montgomery

Tobacco factory entrance Tobacco factory entrance (Note: This series is an edited compilation of past stories I have written about my 2001 trip to Cuba. These stories honor the passing of the Castro Era.) At the conclusion of the tobacco tour, as we waited for our fellow tourists to file back on the bus, Linda and I realized once again why we very seldom take organized tours. The freedom of going where and when you like is so much more exciting. We decided the next time in Cuba we will rent a car and cruise the back roads and villages.

On the way back to Havana, we rode through a beautiful valley tucked between haystack-shaped hills and small villages packed with inns and bed & breakfasts advertised in English.

We stopped at the Prehistoric Mural, a huge painting of dinosaurs and cavemen where vendors sold Myrtle Beach–type wares from thatched huts.

Lunch was served at the entrance to Indian Cave, a natural fissure in the valley. Plates of salad, beans and rice, strange meat, and tasty desserts were brought to our tables family style while musicians played guitars and sang Guantanomera. We rode in boats through the cave’s stalagmites and stalactites and emerged through a nice waterfall. Inside the cave, it was pleasantly cool. It had supposedly been inhabited by primitive natives prior to the Spanish conquest.

The entrance to Indian Cave was idyllic. The entrance to Indian Cave was idyllic. We returned to Havana at 7 p.m. and discovered Cuba had a chain of delightful fast food joints called El Rapído. The restaurant had hard plastic seats and music blasting from huge speakers, but it also had quality fast food at Cuban prices not inflated tourist prices.

For our last dinner in Cuba, my wonderful wife and I dined on pizza, popcorn, and beer. Yes, my dear readers, the Cuban version of McDonalds served cold beer. Our bill topped out at $3.15.

Cigars at the tobacco factory Cigars at the tobacco factory

Tobacco factory workers Tobacco factory workers

The boat ride through Indian Cave was delightfully cool and pleasant. The boat ride through Indian Cave was delightfully cool and pleasant.

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