Nestled between Caracas and Valencia is a formerly German colonial city called Colonia Tovar. I had been hearing about it since I arrived in Venezuela a year ago. As a result, when a travel agent turned school administrative assistant organized a trip to this itty bitty town, I jumped at the chance.
When day was still stretching its arms to begin another morning, a group of us boarded a van and headed for the hills. In all honesty, I was disappointed with Colonia Tovar. It was one of those places people raved about, but came off as a tourist trap to me. If I didn’t know better I honestly would’ve thought I was in a Disney theme park, not a city steeped in a history of (im)migration, colonialism, and German culture. I’m sure a lot of that had to do with where in Colonia Tovar I was, but still.
Bus loads of evangelicals in matching white shirts proclaiming The Gospel Changes were talking to passerby while tourists were walking around in ski jackets and hats that would have been more fitting for Denver, Colorado than the 70 something degree weather we encountered; I can say from experience that what is considered cold is relative and culturally-based. For instance, I received many a comment concerning the amount of layers my Southern self put on during NYC winters.
Past the ski jackets and the evangelists’ home base,
there was the highly recommended market selling fresh fruits and vegetables. The crop quality was beautiful, but I’m from Texas. Call me crazy, but I expect simple, beautiful food (produce at my local Brooklyn grocery stores horrified me when I first moved there; I’m supposed to pay for these rotting onions with flies buzzing around them??).
A few steps away from the market were the famous fresa con crema (strawberry with homemade whipped cream) stands. As a person who adores sweets, I can’t quite explain my dislike for whipped cream. It has no taste to me and just seems…useless. The whipped cream in Colonia Tovar changed my opinion. I would gladly eat multiple cups of strawberries with whipped cream if the flavors and textures were always as rich as those I experienced while there.
Of course, the traditional German fare can also be found in Colonia Tovar. After sausage, sauerkraut, pork chops, potatoes, and a beer it’s hard to believe I managed to even walk around the town. I would be willing to return to Colonia Tovar to see if it intrigues me more the second time around. For now I simply say I’m glad I went and truly appreciate all of the trips my co-worker has planned, but Colonia Tovar didn’t live up to the hype.