After wandering around the delightful city of Merida, failing to get more ice cream and settling for the cake and coffee on offer next door in the cafe we headed for the 2.30pm bus to Barinas.
Merida to Ciudad Bolivar

Its a highly recommend bus journey up into the mountains with a pit stop in clouds for the best Arepa’s known to man, possibly…

At the cloud station stop our friend John carefully negotiated for a bottle of the local wine of a man that emerged from the clouds. After carefully examining and translating the label we realised then bottle of wine was in fact cough medicine. Awesome!

5 hours later we arrived in Barinas. With difficulty we managed to ask the most official looking man at the bus station where our bus would be leaving from only to be informed that we had in fact missed the bus, great! We then attempted to find an alternative route to our destination through map pointing and stilted Spanish, during the monumental task around 20 people gathered to offer their differing opinions in Spanish with the final decision to be it was best we got a taxi?!

After we had almost given up all hope of making it to Ciudad Bolivar it suddenly clicked for the main bus information man that the place we were pointing to on the map was not in fact Bolivia and and was a Venezuelan city! Leading us to the ticket office to book our ticket to Ciudad Bolivar the supposedly only bus was fully booked, great! After some more confusion we managed to decide that we should get a night bus back to Maracay, and then from there to Ciudad Bolivar. We did as we were told arriving in Maracay at 5am (38,000Bv).
Barinas Bus Station Venezuela

The 6am bus we had intended to get from Maracay never appeared so at about 9 am we managed to get aboard a nice bus arriving in Ciudad Bolivar at 8pm. The latest English man to join us was Pete, and we shared 2 taxis (for some reason that we couldn’t ascertain we weren’t aloud one) to the Hotel Caracas which was closed (and well dodgy looking!) so we then went to Amor Patrio where we had 2 double rooms for 25,000 Bv and a welcome nights sleep!