Today was one full of events. Early in the morning we set off for the cable car gondolas to climb the mountains directly north of Caracas; it was a serene ride on the way up with clouds coming in and out of view:
By the time we got to the top, it was very foggy and cool; very different from downtown!
Corresponding views: in the gondola and through the 1000mm telescope at the hotel
Once we made it to the top, we walked around the small town that grew up around the gondola stop. There were restaurants, vendors, and a hotel there. We had the chance to take a short tour of the facilities. One wall was covered in stylized flowers, a main source of income in this small town:
We then walked a short distance to an even smaller village called Galipan where we had lunch and relaxed a bit.
On the way back, the clouds were moving more rapidly and clearing out somewhat. There was a small group of homes nestled between mountains and fog that was particularly photogenic:
Having walked back to the gondola station, we hopped onto the car and quietly descended back into the valley of Caracas where our bus was waiting to whisk us to the Center for Social Action, the location of the surprise we had been told about a previous day. What we didn’t know was who was waiting for us:
Representatives from the USA, Italy, France, Spain, Mexico, Bolivia and Korea were here to listen to what these young players had to offer us. The showcase began with one orchestra playing the final movement of Shostakovich’s 7th Symphony; Tchaikovsky’s finale from the 5th Symphony was performed with gusto, a rousing rendition of Bernstein’s Suite from West Side Story was perfected and the surprise showcase ended with the second and final part of Saint-Saens’ Organ Symphony. Following is an excerpt from the West Side Story Suite:
Sounds great, doesn’t it! Following this four-orchestra event, the Philharmonic was bused to the Teatro Teresa Carreño for our second rehearsal of Mahler’s 8th Symphony with chorus. What a packed day. I’m exhausted; tomorrow is our last performance here in Venezuela, and our last time to exchange ideas and learn as much as possible about this wonderful country and its rising star, El Sistema. Don’t forget to watch us perform this huge symphony live in the international theatercast.