Up The Teleférico: The Search For El Dorado
In the late eighteenth century, a Prussian naturalist and explorer named Alexander von Humboldt travelled throughout South America, determined to once and for all prove whether or not a city of gold ever existed. After extensive study, he returned to Europe to dispel the tale as a myth. Two centuries later, Venezuelan dictator Marcos Pérez Jiménez decided to create his own El Dorado - an ostentatious fourteen story hotel atop the atop El Ávila Mountain in Caracas. He named it after Humboldt.
When a ninety million dollar renovation of the hotel was made by Caracas Tourism Investment in 2002, the area on which the Humboldt Hotel was situated was turned into a national park: the Parque Nacional El Ávila. The four hundred and seventy square foot Pista De Gelo ice rink became its main attraction. And thus, the legend of the "freezing-cold water mountain lake" in the mountains of South America was again reinvented, this time reclaimed as a little-known part of skating history.
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