Leaving Bogata by bus was very smooth. We started at the terminale which offers riders a variety of bus companies to chose from. Not all companies go to all parts of Colombia and some of the buses are just large vans while other companies run the larger luxury type buses complete with movies and comfortable seats. Sadly for my friend Tom our first bus that would take us to Villa de Layva wanted for leg-room to accomodate his six foot plus frame.
Only a four hour trip to Villa de Leyva we encountered some beautiful scenery as we were introduced to theColombian Andes. We chose Villa de Leyva as our destination as it seemed to be the most scenic of the towns in the area which is becoming well known for adventure tourism, including white water rafting, climbing and hiking. Villa de Leyva, a well preserved colonial town, saw the Spaniards arrive and establish a city in 1572. The area enjoys a mild, dry climate and has been the setting for many historic events especially those that led to the revolution for independence.
The Plaza Bolivar is a 400 year old plaza with a Mudejan well gracing the middle. At one end is the Cathedral and surrounding the square are several restaurants, bars and coffee shops that offer great people watching especially on the weekends when the Bogatano’s flood in for a respite from the city. Like a great many people we really enjoyed our stay in Villa de Leyva, so much so we stayed for four nights. Colombia has a much stronger draw than we had anticipated and a month may not be enough to make our circle tour if we stay too long in one place.
It might be a small town but the streets of Villa de Leyva are busy with commerce, tourists and even school parades celebrating a sports day at the local park. Strolling along the streets, the high walls of the homes block your view but then you turn a corner and there you will see a beautiful garden or a great view of the mountains on the horizon.
As usual, Tom, needing to stretch his legs after the bus trip, left me to guard the luggage and he went in search of a posada. He found us a place with a family where we had rooms, wifi and breakfast included at a reasonable price. The resident family was very welcoming and in addition to letting us practice our Spanish they took us on a tour of the surrounding area. Kevin and his grandfather hiked with us to a waterfall and then drove us in a circle around Villa de Leyva, visiting a novelty house make of clay and an archeological site, Estacien El Infernto. At the Estacien there were some 115 odd stone monolithes, many of them resembling phalluses that the ancients used to determine the best time to plant crops. Essentially, Colombia’s answer to Stonehenge, it also provided some higher ground for great views of the mountains.