It is exactly 10 years ago that we visited Venezuela for the third time. We spent two weeks travelling the country. In the first week we rented a car and after having acclimatized for a weekend in the capital, Caracas, we headed to the direction of Morrocoy National Park, an area we got to know already during our 2004 trip. Looking back I am thinking about what could have happened to us during all three trips when we went alone by car though the huge country – we did not speak any Spanish and the local population does not speak English. Luckily we never got into trouble and I have to admit that all trips were probably the most adventurous trips we did so far. It was so worth it. It was a life time experience!
Today it breaks my heart to see what has become of Venezuela – the economic disaster that the Chavista government has caused and also having turned the country into a de-facto dictatorship. Back in 2007 we already saw strong signs for what was to come afterwards. But back to our trip…
Morrocoy has beautiful small islands where the local fisherman will bring you to, for example to Cayo Muerto, and pick up at an agreed time in the afternoon. We were completely alone on the island and enjoyed the purest Caribbean impressions one can get.
We did a day trip to Coro, a colonial town founded in 1527 by the Spanish. To get there we drove about 2 hours from Morrocoy. The highlight on the trip was crossing a desert, the Médanos de Coro.
After the relaxing days we continued to the city of Maracay where we met up with a former Bentley colleague of Michael. Susanne was Venezuelan born but had German parents that emigrated in the 1960s to Venezuela and have spent all their lives there. We spent a night in their house and I loved so much to listen to the stories of Susanne´s mother from the time they emigrated: it took 4 days to travel to Venezuela back then, communication with Europe was very difficult, there was no telephone and letters took ages to arrive at their destination. The reason for the emigration was that Susanne´s father was an engineer in the oil industry and got a very lucrative job in Venezuela back then. Susanne herself was married to a Dutch guy and lived therefore in the Netherlands where she worked with Michael in the same team. But as her daughter who grew up in the Netherlands decided that Venezuela was much more attractive to live in she told her mother she will move to her grandparents. So in the end also Susanne went back and we were able to meet her there. We do not know how they are all doing as we lost contact over the years.
Close to Maracay there is a popular beach called Choroni. We drove there and enjoyed the lively bay full of locals and Caraqueños.
Our last stop of our road trip brought us to the city of Valencia which we also knew as our friend Miguel was living there. The most funny experience there was while walking in the local shopping mall Sambil we got tickets to a fashion show that we attended that evening and I guess because we were foreigners we even were allowed to stay to the after party and get to know the models.
Back in Caracas we started our second half of our trip: visiting Salto Angel, the highest waterfall in the world. For that we had to fly to the city of Guyana first. We stayed in the hotel of the tour operator that also took care of the continuing flight to the lagoon of Canaima from where we had to continue by logboat and then walking to reach our destination.
So the next morning we were brought to the airport again and both Michael and I were looking at each other when seeing the rather old Cesna that would take us to the lagoon. Luckily we were not the only tourists and after having packed the machines we took off for a three our flight over the Venezuelan cloud forest. As we travelled on rather low altitude the views over the landscape were spectacular.
As you can see from the above photo arriving to the lagoon was so beautiful. Somehow we were happy to have ground beneath our feet again and awaited the next stage of our adventure to Salto Angel. But this is something for the next blog entry…