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French Guiana

The first encounter with the euro in the middle of the forest

date of entry 05/04/2002
mileage 346,494

capital Cayenne

area 83.534 km²

population 237.549

Although French Guiana is located between Suriname and Brazil, it is part of France’s national territory – and also, therefore, of the EU. As a result, it was in South America, of all places, that Gunther and Christine Holtorf held their first euro banknotes in 2002. Because of their travels, the currency changeover in Europe had passed the couple by. However, according to Holtorf, the high prices in this country meant that the fresh euros "evaporated" almost as quickly as they could be taken out of the cash machines.
  • ... which also meant that the Approuague river, which crosses the route, represented a serious obstacle. After a lot of coaxing, the road-construction workers agreed to transport Otto over to the opposite bank on a raft.
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  • As an overseas department of France, French Guiana is also part of the European Union. This meant that a German identity card was all the Holtorfs needed to show at the border.
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  • Another advantage in this French region was that it was possible to go to the boulangeries and buy excellent French baguettes.
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  • Otto was dwarfed by the Ariane rockets at the ESA spaceport in Kourou.
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  • Otto’s path led from west to east, in the direction of Brazil. A large part of the route ran through primeval forest.
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  • In the jungle, Otto came into contact with locals such as this snake.
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  • There was a road under construction leading from the capital, Cayenne, towards Brazil, but it was far from finished...
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  • Video: French Guiana – rockets, primeval forest and the first euro notes

Otto was here before ...


date of entry 12 April 2002
mileage 347,503


date of entry 01 May 2002
mileage 356,048