Weeks 12/13: Captured by Merida...June 2, 2017 in Venezuela ⋅ 🌧 21 °C
I somehow spent another 2 amazing weeks in Merida before crossing the border to Colombia. Me and Maycon successfully made it to the Pan de azucar mountain peak on our second attempt. The hike to the mountain through the national park mountain valley was long, but the scenery beautiful, and we camped at 4,300m at the Base. You could feel the altitude, and the next day we woke up to a few inches of snow in a very cold tent. We realised we were high in the Andes, and after an exhausting climb in the snow, we made it to the cold windy summit (nearly 5000m), and I couldn't feel my fingers or toes. The same day we hiked some 6 hours in awesome weather all the way down to the culata valley where we luckily hitched a ride with a Venezuelan couple back to the city. We even bought some local 'mora' wine, drank on the journey and ate food with them back in Merida.
On Thursday we met up with Isobel and her uni friends, and the 5 of us got the bus into a scenic valley and found a great spot of grass to chill out by a river. We chilled all day in the sun with music and Mora wine, and ate loads of food. That Night I went to play pool with my drunk hostel owner, Hugo.
At the weekend I showed Maycon the incredible Botanical Gardens looking over the city, and we sat through 2 hours of spanish 'pirates of the carribean' in the cinema. Friday night there was a party with lots of people at the hostel for someone's birthday, and Saturday we had a BBQ with Hugo and his wife, cooking 4 enormous steaks for about 2 dollars. The same day, Maycon also got his first tattoo! We had met some tattoo artists the night before and they came back to the hostel for maycons spontaneous arm tattoo of Pink Floyd lyrics. She did an awesome job, and it was ridiculously cheap, but she misspelt a word.. hilarious.
I got Ill again for the third time (diarrhoea) after the weekend, but we still got out and walked lots around the city; and through several protests. On Monday we bought tickets for a bus to Colombia the following day, and as we left the bus terminal, a large group of violent protesters came down the main road. All the buses that were in the terminal left at once and the place emptied, security Gates closed, and shops shut. I guess some protest groups of young males are notorious for looting and vandalism, so everyone flees... Anyway we went for food and to a local pool bar
On our 'last day' in Merida, we took a bus 2 hours North to the highest point of the road (4,000m) and to the supposedly spectacular mount Aguila. It was shit. Overcast and freezing cold weather meant we couldn't see or feel anything. We still walked to the peak but it was pretty pointless. In the afternoon we went to the 'La Musuy' thermal water for the second time, and it didn't disappoint. Again, we were relaxing in a natural jacuzzi high in the mountains with an incredible view, music, food and lots of sun. This has to be my favourite place in Venezuela.
We were supposed to leave for Colombia on Wednesday, but crazy Tony still owed us some money (which we had been asking for over a week), and Maycon refused to leave without it. So, we stayed in Merida another night, and went out to a club with a group of Hugos friends. Terrible drunk dancing to awful music and mosh pit circles was all I remember. We agreed to do the 'world record cable car' on our last day, so we got up early, bought Colombia bus tickets (for thursday) and got to the teleferico early. However, after buying tickets and waiting for Isobel to arrive we missed the last cable car. I'd paid $50 (being a tourist) and couldn't get a refund off the stubborn boss, so our only option was to come back the next day, which meant changing our bus tickets yet again. I began to think i was never going to leave Venezuela, but on the plus side we got the money that Tony owed us, and spent the day with Isobel and her sister around the town.
My final day in Venezuela was awesome. We rode the world's highest and longest cable car to one of the highest points of the country (5000m) where it was seriously cold and we felt drunk from the altitude. It was a clear day in the mountains so the scenery and views were incredible all around. We later went out to the same night club, but had to leave drunk at 2am to catch our long bus to Colombia.
My 90 days in Venezuela had come to an end, and what an incredible journey I've had through this unique country. On June 3rd I entered Colombia by walking accross the partially closed border at Cucuta, as I stood with my backpack looking forward to another 3 months in a new country...Read more