on February 22, 2013
Overlooking the picturesque harbour along the coastline of Juan Greigo, is a small Spanish fort nestled on a hill. Fortin de la Galera, or Galley's Fort as it's known in English, is a historic site which was built in 1811 and stood the test of the Matasiete battle. It attracts thousands of visitors each year, both locals and tourists alike. Since I was staying at an inn nearby, I decided to take the walk up the hill to the fort, as opposed to hiring a taxi. The sun was warm but the soft coastal breeze tempered the heat as I slowly made my way up the ever increasing incline. The surrounding area was well taken care of, and many flowers proudly showed off their blossoms, tempting me to take several photographs with the Juan Greigo Harbour in the background. The road was paved and smooth, and the lack of vehicular traffic made my ascent a notably safe journey.As I neared the fort, I had to turn off the main road to climb up some stone stairs, alerting me that I had now arrived on the fort grounds. I then started to see other people strolling around nearby and others climbing the stairs ahead of me. The higher I climbed, the greater the view seemed to become. After a short hike, I arrived at the base of the fort. Looking up from below, the great stone walls seemed imposing, and its Venezuelan flag waved proudly from the top. Several other hikers were apparently tired from the walk as they sat on the walls of the fort, stretched their legs and admired the view from above.After I hauled myself to the summit, I understood firsthand as to why so many people were simply staring at the sky from the fort. The sun was just setting, and the resultant panorama was stunning as the sun dipped below the horizon. The golden sky seemed to clash with the blue sea , the green hills and brown cliffsides of the coast.From my perch, I could see all the small fishing boats in the harbour, and the fishermen hard at work as they prepared their vessels for their early morning trip the following day. I sat near to one of the many cannons which lined the walls of the fort and absorbed the beauty of the landscape below, happy to be treated to such an experience. As we all know, sunsets don't last long, so I continued to explore the fort before the remaining light faded.The grounds of the fort were very appealing. A designer had created a small mini golf area in the middle of the property, with artistically broken clay jars and faux streams and lakes. Small shrubs and palm trees added a touch of greenery and water from a nearby pipe simulated a flowing stream. On the other side of the fort, the view didn't have the pretty sunset, but the manmade lake that spanned a large area behind the fort was almost as captivating. The water was framed by small spits of land with dark green foliage and beyond the lake was a rolling mountain range. There was no question as to the natural charm of Margarita Island!Fortin de la Galera was a captivating and immaculately kept historical site, and I hope that it stays that way for future generations.
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