And, apart from stories about Venezuelans you’ll find numerous links to their websites and social media pages in this blog post. They may be a great source for future overlanders in need of places to stay, car parts, car maintenance, and other info.

When we said we were going to Venezuela, quite a few called us crazy (which in itself is nothing new, really; we’ve grown used to that reaction). Who visits Venezuela nowadays? A country on its knees, sinking deeper every single day. Shortages on basic needs are growing, as is the number of people getting killed and robbed. Why go there, now?

Well, Venezuela is our last country in South America, a continent we are bound to leave shortly (relatively speaking, of course). How could we, after eight years on this continent, leave it without having visited the last one: Venezuela.

Throughout the years, many Venezuelans have followed our journey, whether on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or contacted us via E-mail. “Come to my country!”, “Please visit Venezuela,” and “I’ve followed your journey for years, I’d like to meet you,” are among the most recurring remarks we received from them.

In retrospect we made a mistake three years ago. After having lived in Suriname for a year, and having traveled in the Amazon for one and half, we left the Guianas being thoroughly saturated with the hot, muggy weather of the tropics. As we left Guyana and stood on the crossroad to either go north, to Venezuela, or south, to Brazil and the Andes Mountains in Bolivia, we chose the latter.

Chavez was still alive, and I think nobody could foresee the (continuous) mismanagement that would pull down the country to this extent after his death. Or at least we didn’t. By the time we reached the Venezuelan border last March, we realized we had missed the opportunity to meet some of our loyal fans as meanwhile they have fled the country, in search of a better future. Although, as it happened, the universe appeared to have some surprises in store for us.

In Venezuela we daily saw growing long lines of people waiting in line to buy their basic foods, which are rationed. We faced corrupt police officers, once seriously cornering and intimidating us. Talking with Venezuelans always included discussing the country’s distorted politics, the failing economy, and the country’s statistics on the rising criminality.

However, we will leave the elaboration on those subjects to journalists, while meanwhile we will focus on what we are good at: telling stories about the beauty of this country, in particular the people.

All this is a long intro to sharing our story of traveling through Venezuela for the second time. Our first journey was in March / April, which already was full of surprises (which you can find in part 1, 2, and 3). Wonderful as that was, our first visit can’t compare with the friendliness, openness, hospitality and generousness we have experienced this time around.

Over the past three months we traveled from Santa Elena (coming from Brazil) to the Gran Sabana, Puerto Ordaz, the Orinoco Delta, the Paria and Araya Peninsula, and via the coast of Mochima to Venezuela’s major cities of Caracas, Maracay, Valencia, Barquisimeto and Maracaibo. From Maracaibo we tried crossing into Colombia but as the border region has martial law, the militaries sent us back.

The border remains closed (travelers entering the country via Brazil: Don’t be fooled by the immigration officers telling you that you have the right to leave via Colombia (which is what they continue doing despite us telling them this is not the case). While you may have this right in theory, the reality is that the border remains closed as I’m writing this (Oct 8). Not only we but also other overlanders have been sent back. The best you can hope for is that the border will open shortly.

We normally would have avoided all those big cities, as none of them are particularly attractive, were it not for, yes, right, invitations from friends (most of whom we knew only through the Internet).

I’d like to share with you stories about the Venezuelans we met (granted, they are not all Venezuelans but include foreigners who have come to stay in this country for a reason). To show the country isn’t full of criminals and corrupt people. To show, once ee as we have done the twelve years over and over, there are beautiful people everywhere! Sorry to those of whom we don’t have pictures.

Here we go.

Meet Dirk & Judith, in Santa Elena

After we crossed the Brazilian border we spent the night at Dirk and Judith’s home, downtown Santa Elena. Coen had met them before and Dirk had offered we could camp in his parking lot. We drank Dutch-sized mugs of coffee throughout the evening while swapping travel and adventure stories.

Meet Irit, at El Cathedral

From Santa Elena we drove west (read about it here). Along the side of the road lies El Cathedral, the name for a beautiful waterfall on a ten-minute walk, as well as a campsite-cum-cabana-place run by Irit and her husband.

Years ago, the Israeli couple left their country on a long journey. They fell for the landscape and energy of this particular area, which I can totally identify with, and stayed. They bought the terrain and built cabins to rent (find it here). We loved camping here.

Irit and I chatted a lot about women’s issues quite a bit. We can both feel alone in that respect, being far away from family and close friends. It was great, for the both of us, to bond in an unexpected yet profound and inspiring way with a total stranger.

I left with the feeling of having made a true friend. I still think of Irit often, either because I recall our conversations, or because of the natural soaps, detergent and deodorant she gave me. She makes a range of wonderful products, all based on natural, biological products, and sells them at El Cathedral, as well as via a couple of stores in Caracas.

Meet Andres & Camilla, in Pauji

We continued farther west, to Pauji, a hippy kind of place with Venezuelans as well as foreigners. They are attracted to the energy of the area and share an off-the-grid kind of life, many living on the sales of their homemade handicrafts.

El Abismo is the name of a mountain top as well as a campsite. When we entered the latter, the owner Andres was about to leave. Our cars stopped alongside each other and we met. “Take your pick. The campsite is officially closed as it’s off-season but feel free to stay as long as you like,” he said. We were not allowed to pay because, he said, they hadn’t mown the grass and properly cleaned up the place.

We camped, climbed El Abismo for a spectacular sunrise and drank yerba mate with his Uruguayan wife Camilla. It was a lovely stay that ended too quickly.

Find the campsite here.

Meet Rodolfo & Alejandra, in Puerto Ordaz

We had been in contact with Rodolfo aka Max, thanks to our fellow overlanding friend Luis from Lost Expedition (find his journey here). As we left the Gran Sabana and drove north to Puerto Ordaz we contacted  Rodolfo, who suggested a place to meet, next to a shopping mall. Here we met this super energetic, enthusiastic, charismatic guy. He took us to his home where we met Alejandra, his just as outgoing and hospitable wife, as well as Carlota, their energetic two-year old.

They live in one of the oldest neighborhoods in Puerto Ordaz. Part of the house, where his brother used to live, stood empty and we could use it for as long as we needed.

We spent three weeks with them, its length being a result of car trouble. We had arrived with, again, with the rear left wheel sprayed in oil and two missing axle cap studs. It’s too long a long story to detail here but with Venezuela running short on many things, car parts being one of them, it took some time to get the issue fixed.

One of the challenges was due the fact that our full-floating axle for the 40 series was never imported nor used in Venezuela. We would still be stuck in Puerto Ordaz had it not been for Rodolfo’s connections, persistence, willingness to help us and find a solution. We are eternally grateful!

If you’re in Venezuela and in need of pimping your car, Rodolfo may be the guy you’re looking for. He has a lot of contacts and a car accessory shop full of gadgets you might need. Find him here.

Read More: Couchsurfing in Russia

Apart from getting that job done, we had opportunities to spent some quality time with them, among which exploring the surroundings of Puerto Ordaz as well as joining them on an off-road adventure with kindred spirits from Caracas called (read about the Destinos Intelligentes here, which basically is an extension of all the wonderful Venezuelans we met in such a short span of time).

Rodolfo and Alejandra, as many of their 4×4 friends, are passionate about educating people in camping ethics: staying on the trails, taking garbage with you, etc. Venezuelans have a long way to go in this respect. You can follow Rodolfo here.

Check it out: the Landcruising Adventure Sticker, Magnet & Pin Collection

Meet More Helpful People in Puerto Ordaz

Meanwhile Coen took out the front seat to repair the stitches of its leather upholstery. Chiquito did a marvelous job and wouldn’t accept any payment.

While changing the Land Cruiser’s fluids, Coen noticed a crack in the frame on exactly the same spot where in Quito somebody had tried but obviously failed to weld it properly. Rodolfo took Coen to Gabriel of 3D Equipamento where they adapt off-road vehicles’ frames and suspensions.

With the help of plasma cutters and Tig welding the mechanics fabricated a solid reinforcement. When it was time to ask for the bill, there was just laughter and shrugging shoulders, “Don’t worry about it.”

Meet Fabricio & Ainhoa of Araguato Expeditions, and Victor & Hani of the Orinoco Eco Camp

This is an interesting one as we haven’t met Fabricio and Aihoa in person yet. I do mention them as we’ve been in touch through email extensively and this let to other connections. They were on an overlanding trip when they emailed us with questions about our peculiar border crossing at Puerto Ayacucho (read about it here). One thing led to another.

They own a travel agency Araguato Expeditions (find it here) and offered us a trip to the Orinoco Delta with the owners of the Orinoco Eco Camp, Victor and Hani (find their website here)

I won’t go into depth about that fantastic three-day stay in a lodge in the middle of the delta among the Warao indigenous people as I’ve written about it (find it herehere and here). Victor extended his hospitality by allowing us to camp in his large green garden in San Jose de Buja the night before and after our stay in the Delta.

In Maturin, where Hani lives with his family, we additionally shared a wonderful lunch in his house while his washing machine took care of my laundry. On departure he handed us a bag with typical Venezuelan, and thus nowadays hard to get, food items such as coffee and harina pan.

Oh, and there we met Alie and Carlos…

Meet Alie & Carlos, in Caripe

One day, Alie, Dutch, went on vacation to Isla Margarita. She met Carlos, a Venezuelan from Caripe, and since then has divided her time between the two countries, albeit increasingly more in Venezuela. We showed up at their doorstep after we had left Maturin.

Carlos, a por-puesto (shared taxi) driver immediately called a couple of his friends. All own an FJ45, the gasoline version of our BJ45. Part of the afternoon was spent by the men hanging under the hoods of their cars and checking undercarriages, while we women had our own exchanges.

Coen and I decided to share our last package of zuurkool (sauerkraut) from the Netherlands with Alie and Carlos, and offered to prepare lunch the next day. As that would be a Sunday, a perfect day to spend with friends, this idea evolved into some kind of pot-luck lunch with Carlos’ por-puesto friends and wives.

We had a blast, ending up at some remote mountain top outside town taking in the sunset (that’s how long lunch can stretch in Venezuela…).

Meet Alejandra, Sea Turtle Caretaker at the Paria Peninsula

While camping at Pui Pui Beach we met Alejandra several times. She was in charge in releasing the hatched sea turtles that were born in the sanctuary of a sea turtle program on this peninsula (read about it here).

She has worked with sea turtles for a number of years and loves them so much that she wears a big sea turtle tattoo on her neck. She is truly dedicated to helping these awe-inspiring, prehistoric animals. We admired the patience she had with onlookers who continued trying to pick up the tiny creatures, or standing in between them and the ocean.

She took the time to educate kids and adults alike on sea turtles before releasing the newborns. Venezuela, and the rest of the world, could use many more of these passionate people contributing to a better world in such a tangible way.

Meet Sandra & Santiago, at La Conserva (Araya Peninsula)

From the Paria Peninsula we drove to the Araya Peninsula. Rodolfo had given us a contact there. While this didn’t work out, it did lead to further exploration of this particular corner of the country. Southeast of Araya we followed the waterfront inhabited by fishermen until one of them pointed us to La Conserva, saying that this was a safe place to camp. While ‘beach’ is an exaggeration of this flat little stretch of sand, it was the only clean place on this peninsula.

Only when we set up camp we noticed a simple, stone house up the hill, and a woman walking downhill from it. We met and instantly clicked. We were up by six in the morning and shared a coffee with Sandra and her partner Santiago. We started talking, which pretty much continued for the next 24 hours.

Santiago, a Cuban political refugee, and Sandra, a Caraqueño (inhabitant of Caracas) arrived here about six years ago for a one-week vacation. They ended up camping on La Conserva for a year, sleeping in hammocks under a tarp before they decided to buy the uphill land and build the simplest of homes in terms of construction and material possessions (e.g. with discarded refrigerators functioning as closets).

Yet simultaneously they created the richest of lives in terms of rewarding simplicity by earning their money by fixing locals’ broken technical equipment, helping fishermen catching their fish (and thus earning a share), and complementing their diet by growing fruit on the barren hills.

We shared meals, coffee and lots of lifetime-remembering stories.

Meet Jean, in Los Altos de Santa Fe

Truth be said, we could have camped at La Conserva for a year as well, had our visa not been the limiting factor. And so we said our goodbyes to Sandra and Santiago, took a ferry to Cumana and drove farther south to Mochima.

We were not enchanted by this tourist attraction during high season and fled into the mountains to Los Altos de Santa Fe. This particular town is asleep (except on weekends when tourists find their way to the lush, fresh-air surroundings) and so everything was closed, including all restaurants.

Read More: The Joy of Overlanding with Kids

We parked at the entrance of an unpaved road where I cooked a meal of rice and lentils while Coen walked down the track, seeing if it would provide a place to camp. He met a couple of men, digging sand. They were building a soccer field. One of them told Coen it was no problem to camp here, or that we could camp uphill, next to his house. We chose the latter and thus met Jean, French in name but Venezuelan nevertheless.

This 26-year old grew up here, with dad and siblings, on top of a mountain in a rustic house with a view of the islands of Mochima National Park. He became an athlete, a professional, paid, inline skater. For a number of years he did very well for himself until he got a fracture that finished him as an athlete.

Slowly but steadily he slid into a lifestyle of partying, drinking and drugs until about a year later he found a moment to wonder what the heck he was doing. He concluded that this was not where he wanted to go, left the city and returned to the mountains, quitting all his bad habits except smoking.

He is now building his home with the help of his brother and friends with recycled materials and experimenting with organic vegetable gardens (oh, those cherry tomatoes…) and fruit trees. Meanwhile he has decided to build a soccer field so he can offer a place for youngsters in his area to learn what it is to work in a team and taking care of a greater good than the individual.

Two nights were not enough to share all the stories we felt we wanted to share. We connected on so many levels. He is an incredibly inspiring person and somebody we wish nothing but the very best.

Recommended Books on Overlanding

(click on the images to look inside)

We Will be Free – Graeme Bell

Lois on the Loose – Lois Pryce

First Overland – Tim Slessor

Products from Amazon

Meet Alexis & Gabriela (and their kids), in Caracas

We met this outgoing, warm family during our off-road weekend with Rodolfo and Alejandra and their friends. During that weekend Alexis found the solution to our continuous car issue that kept us in Puerto Ordaz for so long. He knew where to find two new rear full floating hubs. And, miraculously, he managed to source them before our flight took us back to Puerto Ordaz. On top of that, Alexis didn’t want a dime for them.

When in Venezuela and in need of parts for your Toyota, Alexis may be exactly the guy you need as he has a shop selling repuestos. Find him here, or email elrustico2[at]gmail[dot]com.

We kept in touch and Alexis told us he knew a factory that produces body parts for our BJ45 as well as a guy who might want to restore our vehicle. As rust is slowly but way too steadily eating our home on wheels, again, even though we did an overhaul only five years ago, we were interested.

So, despite our intention of skipping Caracas we ended up returning here for the second time. Alexis awaited us at a gas station to guide us safely home through the winding, narrow streets of this surprisingly mountainous metropolitan. Our car could be parked at a fenced-in terrain of a neighbor. Their teenage daughter Viviane spent two nights at her grandmother’s place who lives one floor up so we could stay in her bedroom. Thanks Viviane.

Alexis, Gabriella, Viviane, and Gabriel opened their homes, their hearts, shared meals, time, and gave tips and advice on car issues. They are an incredibly inspiring family and we hope to join them one day on a Gran Sabana camping trip.

Just before leaving Caracas, we swung by his Toyota parts shop for a quick coffee and picture moment. On departure Alexis had loaded a desk with all the BJ45 parts he could find in his shop, saying, “Take your pick, they are yours to have.”

You know, as you travel you get used to many things but the generosity and hospitality of people continue to flabbergast us. We were stunned into silence by this gesture. Thank you again, Alexis and Gabriela!

We arrived on Saturday and on Sunday Alexis got a bunch of Destinos Intelligentes people together (whom we knew from our overland weekend). We got together at an outdoor restaurant on one of Caracas mountain tops overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. These are all people dedicated to promoting environmental-friendly rough camping.

Thanks guys, for sharing, time, stories and laughs again!

Meet Robespierre & Ruth of Carpas Anaconda, in Maracay

Another contact thanks to Rodolfo: Robespierre. He and his wife Ruth own Carpas Anaconda, the biggest roof-top tent producer in Venezuela and according to users of the tent we met during our overland weekend, the best.

After a couple of calls and emails Robespierre decided that from now on we should be sleeping in a Anaconda Mantis roof-top tent. And thus, after Caracas, we drove on to the next big city: Maracay. It had been a long, strenuous day for a number of reasons and arrived at his place around five, exhausted.

“Welcome, finally you got here. Let me take you to hotel across the road and arrange a quarter for you,” were Robespierre’s warm and welcoming worlds. “Let’s meet at seven, we’d like to take you out for dinner,” he added, while he swiped his credit card at the receptionist’s desk.

We were in for a treat. We were truly spoiled and felt like VIPs as they shared their meals with us and let us use their washing machine. They took all the time needed to properly install the new roof-top tent that comes with LEDs (as well as a set-up to hook up an aircon, a specific Venezuelan feature we’ll talk about in another blog post), and extended the ladder as our car roof is higher than average.

Last but not least Robespierre took us on a sightseeing tour through the city, pointing out the famous Plaza de Torros, statues of bulls and the country’s liberator Bolívar, as well as one dedicated to the city being the country’s aeronautical center.

Thank you for providing us with a new, waterproof rooftop tent cum bedroom again, Robespierre and Ruth!

Are you looking for an affordable, sturdy roof-top tent? Find Carpas Anaconda on Instagram.

Meet Alberto, in Valencia

Next big city: Valencia. This one had been on Coen’s list for a long time. He wanted to meet Alberto, the Land Cruiser restoration specialist in the country. It started out as a hobby, although you could argue it still is, albeit paid nowadays. Alberto restored a BJ40 for himself and on request worked on two Land Cruisers for friends before others started suggesting to turn his hobby into a business.

He now owns a workshop with two full-time mechanics. Even though Alberto’s main business is elsewhere, he works on the cars himself as often as he can. “It’s the perfect place to unwind, to work with my hands and clear my head,” he said.

While he showed us around our presence became known through the grapevine and by the end of the afternoon we were hanging around with almost ten people around the cars, talking, well, cars, of course. Which let to another invitation: from his friend Enrique. More on that below.

We would have loved to have restored our car here. However, Alberto simply didn’t have the time. He also said that having a fixed time frame for such a major job is impossible as hunting for parts and everything else is too time-consuming these days, with so many things getting scarce or becoming unavailable. And since we always have a visa that limits our time frame, doing a big restoration job was bound the become very stressful.

This, together with our experiences in Puerto Ordaz and what we heard in Caracas we have decided to drop the idea of restoring our Land Cruiser in Venezuela. If only we had been here three years ago.

Meanwhile, as the guys got talking, they discussed the main problematic issue of the Land Cruiser: a totally rusted-through rear bridge that sits directly under the ambulance doors. When we met again a week later, at Enrique’s, Alberto had scored a new piece for us and even reinforced it, handing it to us as a present.

Like I said, we often fall silent in Venezuela by the incredible gestures of its people. Thanks Alberto! Be sure to follow his excellent work on Instagram.

Meet Alfred, in Valencia

Another new friend from the Destinos Intelligentes club lives in Valencia. Alfred picked us up at Alberto’s, and drove us to his house where we spend the night. “Mi casa es su casa,” he said, giving up his own room to sleep in his daughter’s room (who now lives in Caracas) so we could sleep in his matrimonial bed.

Here we rested for a day, checking out the new roof-top tent again, and spent a lovely evening with a couple of friends who came over. They wanted to meet these world travelers, and suggested to prepare a meal for all of us. “They don’t eat meat,” Alfred had said. “No problem, we’ll make something, but we want to meet them!” they answered.

One had prepared a spread with eggplant as well as one with mushrooms and herbs, while another prepared huge and attractive looking fruit salads. They all belong to a hiking group here that weekly organizes hikes in the region, which unfortunately we didn’t know about beforehand. A good reason to come back.

Thank you Alfred for sharing your home! Check him out on instagram.

Meet Ramón, in Valencia

Before Alfred and his hiking friends arrived, we had another visitor. Ramón. Coen was connected with him through the Web (a friend of Greg, see below) when we were still in Colombia and searching for information about the little-used border crossing at Puerto Ayacucho. Ramón is one of the many Venezuelans who left the country in search for a more prosperous future, however, has now decided to return to his home country.

“Venezuelans aren’t emigrants,” he said. (We’ve heard more people say that, by the way). “We love our country and want to be with our families,” he gave as an explanation why you would want to return and live in this country with its problems that are worsening on a daily basis.

Ramón’s father-in-law owns ToyoKelly, the Toyota dealership in San Fernando de Apure. Here we had one of our first marvelous encounters with Venezuelans’ incredibly willingness to help total strangers (read about it here).

Ramón introduced us through email and insisted we got all the Land Cruiser’s fluids changed on his account. As he was in the U.S. at the time, we had never expected to meet and it was sheer coincidence that he had not only just returned to Venezuela but was in this part of the country.

Thanks for stopping by Ramón!

Travel Guides for Venezuela

(click on the images to look inside)

Bradt Travel Guides – Venezuela

Insight Guides – Venezuela

Birds of Venezuela – Field Guide

Products from Amazon

Greg and daughter

Meet Greg, in Barquisimeto

Greg is in some ways a similar story. He has followed our journey for years, left the country last year and now lives in Panama. By pure coincidence we learned he was in Barquisimeto for exactly one week, which was the reason we quickly left Valencia because we had exactly one day we could share with Greg before he would catch a plane back.

When we arrived around noon at the entrance of town he asked us to follow him. We arrived at an apartment building, where he opened the door to his home and gave us the keys, “Here, stay here as long as you like. My home is your home. You’ll have to improvise a bit as we sold some of our stuff before leaving to Panama but at least you have a place to sleep, shower and cook.”

Just like that. Keys to his apartment. We had met 15 minutes earlier. What a trust! We were deeply touched. We were invited to join him to go for lunch with his family to celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of his daughter. Here we met some of his friends, which let us to other contacts, which let us to other contacts… And so it goes.

Meet Alejandro in Barquisimeto

Greg and his friend Daniel both know Alejandro, an exhaust and metal-work specialist downtown. As the last part of the exhaust had just broken off, this was what we needed. In a nutshell: we not only have a new exhaust and silencer, but it is short, straight and doesn’t cross diagonally under the Land Cruiser anymore. Alejandro didn’t want to get paid nor for the parts nor for the work done. Another moment of silence for us. Thanks Alejandro!

While nothing fell into place to make the restoration work, here all dots connected to work on a project that was about #100 on our list, but hey, always grab the opportunities, right? After the excellent exhaust job Coen asked Alejandro if he could weld a stainless steel water tank, for which we now had space underneath the Land Cruiser. “No problem, just find the material which is the tough part,” Alejandro said.

He suggested to check out a stainless steel junkyard just around the corner. And there they were: two old tanks that could be welded together giving us now a 100-liter water tank. It was precision work and had to be done in between Alejandro’s all other business so it took two weeks but as we had a comfortable home at Greg’s place, this was no problem.

Cobra Silenciadores (the exhaust workshop) and Metal Works are located on the same terrain. Find them on Facebook.

Meet Enrique and Johanna, at Cabo San Ramon

Like mentioned above, Enrique, another Land Cruiser afficionado, is a friend of Alberto’s. We were invited to join his family for the weekend at their family home at the far top of the Coro Peninsula. This was an area ‘everybody’ told us to go because it’s so beautiful and so we locked up Greg’s apartment for the weekend and set off.

Well this is the biggest garbage belt we have seen in this country, which says a lot because the country is pretty much covered in litter. Truly, without Enrique’s invitation our stay would have been the biggest low-down of this trip. Which only says something about how different our tastes can be.

The majority of visitors come here for the beach and ocean, escaping the heat and smog from the big cities for the weekend, which is something we can perfectly understand. It is simply is a need we don’t share (just stop throwing your garbage all around you and take it home with you, please).

But, as so often, staying with locals can make for a unique experience. Which is what happened here. Enrique with his wife, son and future daughter-in-law have camped on this beach for many years. With the economy going down the drain and inflation going through the roof, their annual, international road journeys have become too expensive.
And so they decided to build a small pied-à-terre here instead.

To make it more inhabitable he organized a clean-up weekend with his neighbors, carrying tons of garbage out that littered across the road and around their new homes. That many may follow this great example!

We spent a lovely weekend. What a warm, welcoming, generous family. Alberto had joined them for the weekend so that’s where we got the Land Cruiser’s new rear bridge. During our first meeting it had come up that we don’t eat meat, and since on weekends like this it’s all about asados (BBQs) we had said we’d bring our own vegan contribution.

However, I needn’t have bothered. Johanna, Enrique’s wife went out of her way to provide for us. She prepared a spread with mushrooms and all kinds of veggies, made salads and cut eggplant and zucchini to fry on the grill. I was deeply touched.

It was a wonderful group of people to spend the weekend with. We endlessly discussed Venezuela, and Enrique and Alberto also took us sightseeing to the salt flats, a couple of ruins, and to watch the sunset at the watchtower. From here we could see Aruba, which is an island part of the Netherlands. We had never realized our country neighbored Venezuela!

Last but not Least

And finally we met hundreds of enthusiastic people while driving or in a line-up at the traffic lights. Dozens of them lowered their windows to ask about our trip and to a smartphone shot. Others, with armored windows, opened their doors while driving to take a photo, including on the highway. It’s a miracle we weren’t the cause of numerous car accidents, I tell you.

One guy asked us to pull over to the side of the road for a photo. With the police being able to be nasty as they can be, we didn’t want to do that. So instead the guy continued driving next to us and started chatting through the open windows about the weather and such, never mind the fact that other cars were lining up behind him to overtake us.

And then there was the motorcyclist next to us, high-speed on the highway, moving his body sideways and steering without hands because he needed both hands to take a photo…

While we had our moments of fright during such encounters, we do thank everybody for your smiles, honking and thumbs up! You all made us feel welcome.

Check it out: the Landcruising Adventure Classic T-shirt Collection

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