Venezuela: Life in Caracas – La Colonia Tovar

I woke up with a deep ache for Germany. That Deutschland dream was calling me, to the most exotic of places. Inside clouds many miles away from the civilisation I was only just adjusting to… On top of a mountain and the southern most tip at the end of the Andes… Never did I know such a unique part of the world would capture my heart in literally, 24 hours! So I found Germany in Venezuela… La Colonia Tovar.

La Colonia Tovar Sarah Begum

As I stepped out of the cab into the heart of the village, I truly felt I was on German land. I looked around, taking in the sight, sound and smells that surrounded me. Signposts read, “Salchicha” on every corner – German sausages! Mmmm… I took a long walk to the end of the lane and fell inside a view that took my breath away; houses sporadically spotted in the lush green hills. (See above).

I decided instantly that I wanted to stay the night. But, where? I walked to the nearest store to buy strawberries and cream and enquired about my options. A lovely gentleman who was eager to help. He took me to a hairdresser named ‘Marie’. Marie called her landlord to book me the room for the night in their apartment, which was hidden somewhere in the scenery I had only just absorbed. Sorted! I had somewhere to stay the night.

From that moment, Marie was hesitant to let me out of her sight. I took a walk down the other side of the village, getting lost in the market stalls. I sat sipping herbal tea whilst observing the exquisite faces; German and Latin infusion. So exotic! I was served by a German woman speaking in pure Spanish. Excitement bubbled inside me. I headed into a church like building where a military guard stood on duty. He asked me if I was ok and offered me a drink. Then, as usual, he asked if I was on Facebook. My battery died as I headed back up to Marie’s hairdresser. She waited for her daughter and we headed to the bar upstairs. There, I met ‘Angel’ who gave me the background and snippet of the history of La Colonia Tovar – the Germany colony in Venezuela.

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Marie took me to her house to drop off  her daughter and introduced me to her ex-husband. The cosy atmosphere embraced me. I stepped out and almost fell into the night sky, enchanted by the star lit view.

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We made way to Rumbage, where the locals head for a night out. I met a contestant of Miss Venezuela and experienced the warmth in the hearts of these people. A certain face caught my eye and I was introduced to, ‘Ekker’. Born to a German father and Venezuelan mother, his exotic features stood out. He is a lawyer by day and businessman by night. His father sat beside us at the bar and I was told the story of how he adapted to the exotic lands.

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SARAH: So, do you speak German, then?

EKKER: No.

SARAH: Why not?

EKKER: I was never taught. I know one word but that’s about it. Dad, why didn’t you teach me German?

EKKER’S DAD: I wish I taught you German. I don’t know why I didn’t. I regret it.

When they were young, everything changed through the school system. Children were taught Spanish and all their subjects in Spanish. The German language quickly faded away in the new generations unless kept preserved from parent to child. As a young boy, he had to learn Spanish in order to communicate with the rest of society.

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A cute but violent barking fuzzy doggy caught my sight. So I had to catch its fuzziness… The night quickly faded into the stars as sunrise chased me into bed.

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I woke up to a refreshing view of La Colonia Tovar. I was deep in the hills. No danger could touch me here. It felt like I was in a completely different country compared to where I lived in Caracas. If only time wasn’t of the essence.

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Christmas trees engraved into the pavement? Probably because it always feels like the festive season here. There’s no safer place to live in Venezuela than here. I think…

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I headed into town with Marie and had a quick coffee with Angel before hitching a ride to tour the most interesting places in the village. I saw the strawberry farms…

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The peach factory… fresh peach juice, peach jam, jars of preserved peach filled the market stall. I bit into the juicy flesh tasting the richness it ripened in.

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We were dropped off to a garden full of flowers and even more artisan treats and souvenirs screaming our attention. A slight cloud was hanging over our heads.

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Artisan beer from Colonia Tovar seemed to be a popular with the tourists.

 

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Framed by flowers

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The final stop was at a family run wine mill. They produce and sell wine from strawberries (the best one!), blackberries, orange and caramel liqueur fresh on the field.

photo 5The final goodbye; Marie-Estrella, Ekker, Me, Elliot and their friend. I really wanted to revisit this place but my time had run out. These people were very hospitable and they even got their friend to go all the way back to Caracas with me to ensure I reached my destination safely before returning to their beautiful mountain village. I’ll never forget the love I felt here. Hopefully, I will return again. Thank you, La Colonia Tovar.

 

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Sarah Begum

Adventurer. Filmmaker. Explorer. Presenter.

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