Thursday, March 26, 2009

Caracas: Teleferico up El Avila

After seeing the colonial sights around Plaza Bolivar I took the metro back a few stops and then walked up to the base of the hills to catch the Teleferico to the top of El Avila.

It was clearly the thing for families to do for Sunday lunch and there was a long but patient queue that snaked forward slowly.

In my bubble were an extended family of five with a young boy that was more open about his curiosity as to this stranger from a far distant land than his elders. His dad helped break the ice by prompting his son to put forward his clenched hand so that I bump knuckles and say Hola!

El Avila is 2,175m high, and while I've been here mostly hidden by clouds, occaisionally visible to give a great feeling of nature looming high over the city. The day I went the cabins seemed to vanish into the void as we travelled ever higher, ears popping as we climbed.

It did of course remind me of skiing but it was far to warm for that. But at the top there was a series of entertainments including a full ice rink, with much laughing fun as the inexperienced clung onto the hand rails and watched the few who were zooming round and round.

The clouds alas meant was unable to see the view to the north which is meant to be a "stunning panorama of the coastline and the Caribbean sea" according to the Lonely Planet. All I could see was the occaisionially glimpse of other mountains sticking out of the layer of white:

If I had had more time would have walked down on one of the many inviting trails through the forests back down to Caracas. Instead I took the cable car back down, this time with no queue and the cabin all to myself.

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