May 2002 - big trip - diary - venezuela - may 2002


Huge drops on the way to...

...Los Nevados

Scenery above the village

66 pairs of bulls...

...jammed into the village square

Landy squeezes through when the partys over

Tuesday 14 May - Wednesday 15 May

We drove out from Merida after lunch, heading deeper into the Andes to Los Nevados, a tiny village at 2711m. After a madly twisty and steep dirt road which took us 60kms into the heart of the Venezuelan Andes, we arrived just as the sun set. The main square looked ready for a fiesta and a bishop type bloke appeared from the church and came over to welcome us, as did the local policeman who, judging by his enormous stomach, isn't very busy. There was to be a big fiesta the next day, something to do with bulls and a saint. However, we could park the landy by the church and sleep there for the night. The altitude made it pretty cold, a drastic change from Maracaibo but we slept well.

Mountain types

Spot the landy


The fiesta de San Isidro, patron saint of countryfolk, was due to start around 10am so we moved the landy from the main square, driving in low box up the (almost) impossibly steep cobbled street to a flat bit of land big enough for us and two landcruisers - the only other type of car that we saw while in this area. We went for a stroll around the mountainside above the village and watched the square below slowly fill with the local people and their pairs of bulls from miles around. We descended to see what was going on, not a lot unless you like church services in spanish. All of the men stayed outside with their generally peaceful bulls while the women went inside to listen. Then everyone proceeded to stroll along the track we had driven along the day before to the cemetery, accompanied by huge explosions of some home made fireworks.

Twisting through the mountains

Low box all the way

Fiesta over, we eased out of our parking space, the rain making the cobbles so slippy that the landy almost slid down the hill out of control, and headed landied out of the village back to Merida, checked our email and then headed out and into the mountains a short way to camp in a national park. There was nobody at the park entrance so we just drove in and made camp. Various cars passed in the night and morning but nobody mentioned anything about the park entrance fee, it was a beautiful spot with a stream of icy water to wash in. We used the engine pre-heater in the morning to warm up the landy before starting it up to the usual altitude induced cloud of black exhaust smoke, then headed out through the park gates and northeast.

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