Nestling in the mountains

Merida Travel Blog

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Plaza Bolivar, Merida

I dug out the trusty Lonely Liar to see if I could find somewhere to put my head down for the night.  I got a taxi from the terminal to the city for BsF18 and got dropped at the Posada Suiza, one of the named.  They were full and so were the three posadas within close range - oh great!  Then by chance, I heard my name being called and turned round to see Will and Pat from the Roraima trek on the other side of the road.  they took me to their posada, which had one quadruple room, but the owner would not budge from the BsF150 (GBP18/US$24) price - a bit much for me on my own.  The hotel next door (Hotel Las Nievas) had double rooms for BsF100 and at this point I was so tired, I begrudgingly paid up, just so I could put my head down and finally get some sleep.

View over Merida valley, Sierra Nevada from Las Gonazalez

Refreshed after a nice lie-in, I set about exploring Mérida.  Its a funny city - at night, it can look a bit dodgy and not at all enchanting in some areas - just like most Venezuelan towns.  However, when the sun shines and you head to Plaza Bolivar, there are lovely buildings with the mountains peaking through in the background and you get taken in by its charm.  I grabbed myself another bargain scarecut (BsF20/GBP2.50), as my lack of Spanish didn´t allow me to fully tell the teenager cutting my hair what I wanted.  Still it was shorter and I swear when I look in the mirror, I look 5 years younger!  I did a few other chores and then tried to sort out some tours and activities for the coming days.  I wanted to go to Catatumbo to see the lightning phenomonen, but it requires a group of at least three and doesn´t appear that popular as my tour operators said they didn´t have anything for the weekend.

Me and my instructor Guillerme
  So I decided to book myself for paragliding for the next day - something I´d always earmarked to do in Mérida.  I moved to posadas (to one with a name that I still can´t remember, but its near  Parque Las Heroínas, not far from Posada Paty.  Got myself a bed in a dorm room for BsF50/night, which was a big improvement!  Bumped in Simon from Plymouth who had just come back from climbing Pico Humboldt and looked thoroughly exhausted.  We hung out in the Parque, which got quite lively later on with burger vans, market stalls and the like - had an awesome hamburguesa especial for BsF15 (GBP2), which had a burger, ham, cheese, an egg, lettuce, cabbage, fries and about 5 sauces - a complete meal, and absolutely delicious!  Probably not great for the old health, but still when in Rome.
Sarah getting geared up for her flight
..

Was up early on Saturday morning for my paragliding (arranged through Yagumo Tours for BsF350/GBP40/US$60).  In my group were Sarah and Jess from Watford and our jeep took us to Las González, the site for our flight.  We were all pretty excited and our instructors were very thorough and taked us through everything.  Then we were strapped in and with a helping hand from some guys on the ground we were pushed up, up and away.  It was an amazing sensation as I began to fly - its all so peaceful and I was just gliding around with my instructor and some vultures and eagles who passed by.  The views were sensation (as the photos will prove I hope!) and it was a pretty relaxing experience...well, for some of us.  Sarah didn´t take it too well, and actually puked mid-air! Classy girl.

Take-off!!
  We flew for about 30 minutes before landing and it was definitely well worth the money for the experience, something I´d like to do again.

I got back to Mérida and managed to book my bus ticket to Maracaibo for Monday night. That allowed me to confirm myself on the tour to Catatumbo to see the lightning phenomonen, as X-Treme Tours said they had 2 Germans ready to go Sunday as well....the plan seems to be working out!

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Plaza Bolivar, Merida
Plaza Bolivar, Merida
View over Merida valley, Sierra Ne…
View over Merida valley, Sierra N…
Me and my instructor Guillerme
Me and my instructor Guillerme
Sarah getting geared up for her fl…
Sarah getting geared up for her f…
Take-off!!
Take-off!!
Stunning views all round!
Stunning views all round!
The botanical gardens in Merida (r…
The botanical gardens in Merida (…
Classic Dodge taxi
Classic Dodge taxi
Parque Las Heroinas, Merida
Parque Las Heroinas, Merida
Merida
photo by: AndySD