Friday 7th August 2015
Spent most of the day preparing the texts for blog articles. I just wanted to write about the amazing El Cocuy before I would start forgetting everything and was oblivious to most of the city life happening around me that day.
I still got some glimpse of that city when doing some breaks though. Villa de Leyva is a small colonial city, quite pretty although less pretty thank Barichara next to San Gil, and way more touristy with lots of tourist shops, and more crowded. But still nice.
One of its street. Most of the streets have cobbled stones which gives it some charm although I wonder how women with hills would be walking around and not even thinking of drunk people coming back from the pub! It does require some concentration to not twist an ankle here! I was glad to not wear my hiking shoes that day and went around in flip-flops and did have to concentrate when walking.
There are small shops where you can get arepa with cheese and mushrooms for 5,000 COP (2.5 AUD) where I had lunch the 2 days I spent there.
In the evening, after spending the day preparing articles for the blog, I went back to the hostel to grab a second jumper as it was getting colder. The dorm had filled up and was full!! Impressive! I met Annemone, a German girl who had been living in Bogota for 3 years and was working as a tour guide for various tours, including the graffiti tour of Bogota that she recommended me to do. The next day, she was taking a young couple on their honeymoon around the city and the surroundings. We went for dinner and drinks.She had been travelling around the world, had volonteered in Namibia and Mexico, had had an amazing adventurous life so far exploring so much of the world, it was awesome to chat with her all night and fascinating to hear her stories.
Here is the main square. This main square of Villa de Leyva is THE biggest size of city square of cities in Colombia AND in the entire South America!!! On one end, it was filled with up with people sitting and chatting and having a drink and a great time.
In the centre is a fountain, another place where people chill out.
After some dinner, we stopped in a bar where they had hookah and mulled wine.
And a really cool banner of a drawing of funny cats!
And then went back to the dorms. One guy was snoring heavily all night and annoying the rest of us! I realised how lucky I had been early July to have spent 4 nights in dorms of 50 people on the Ciudad Perdida trek without anyone snoring!
Saturday 8th August 2015
In the morning I met three French people, Val, Fred and Eric who were from Angouleme and Paris. We chatted over the breakfast. Then I went again to the internet cafe and spent the morning preparing articles with no photos and going nuts with trying to get photos in the articles without plugging in cards in the conputers. So I tried wireless transfer of photos from camera to phone to picasaweb. Then I downloading the picasaweb software in order to do bulk transfers from web to pc and restarted the computer in order to get image resizer for windows software working. But then this restart wiped out Picasaweb software and the files already downloaded. I gave up and decided to just get a netbook when I would reach Bogota!!!
Cars are allowed in but only driving 10 km per hour, not even.
Some shops were selling kites, called “cometas” in Spanish.
The main square in the day. Adults and children playing the kite on the main square, probably getting ready for the kite festival taking place the next week-end!
I went for lunch to a place recommended by a Colombian friend of mine called Santiago, who is the boyfriend of my friend Anouk with who I will catch-up with very soon in Cusco, Peru. They both live in London where I knew them when living there a few years ago but although Santiago left Colombia for London about 10 years ago now, he still has very fond memories of his country but also awesome tips!
So here I went to “the awesome meat restaurant on the right before the bridge when you come from the bus terminal.”
It was indeed a very special place as Santiago had described to me which cooked the meat on sticks in a huge chimney with wood fire.
The full view.
I got a really good “table with view” near the reception, from which I took these photos. What amazed me was that there was no other tourist in the restaurant. It was so good food that I was surprised no tourists would come here to discover this traditional way of cooking the meat and taste this delicious meat.
There was music played by the harpist, it was really original too.
It was nice to see the meat get cooked, the women preparing the plates, the people chatting and enjoying themselves, listening to the harpist. There was the restaurant dog who was happily cruising around, grabbing the meat chunks which had fallen under the tables. There was also the little girl who came to take my order, and her younger brother who from times to times was bringing a small log to the big pile of wood. It was Saturdaty after all, the kids were probably happy to linger around and help out and enjoy the restaurant of their parents. I even saw a funny scene, one of the stray dog entering the restaurant and looking if he could come grab some left over meat fallen on the floor.
And then he did come and grab it. I had not noticed that small log yet on which meat was put, smart idea. Instead of throwing away the meat, the women were letting it fall there and the dogs coming to grab it. That just made me think of the Walt Disney “Lady and The Tramp” in which Tramp usually happily cruises the city and is fed by the different restaurants, in particular the Italian one Tony`s in the movie. I just really loved that place!!! 🙂 Thanks Santiago for sending me there!!
After this awesome meal, I spent the afternoon walking the city.
Back to the main square first, crossing it.
I passed this balcony on which stands forever a photographer.
I had local ice-cream called Geronimo.
I ate it seating on the stairs here and watching the plaza.
Everyone was really getting in the kite frenzy.
Walked to the edge and saw this market.
Kept walking, saw those wires.
On them, always those weird strange stuff like if birds were putting them there but why.
Still-life. Even the bins are pretty in this town.
So many balconies full of flowers.
Between the cobblestones, we can find the beer tops of the Poker beer.
Man selling veggies and herbs and flowers at a corner.
Another horse carriage like I had seen in Cartagena, waiting for “getting married today” people.
And the passers-by, waiting, curious to see them arrive.
A flying horse in a gallery.
Some street, colonial buildings.
The Story of the Woman who had 4 Dogs.
The military guys we see around, mostly around the main square, remind us that Colombia has just recently changed and that there may be some safety issues arising one day again, but that it wants tourists to feel safe and ensures militaries and the policia are seen a lot around the main touristy areas!
In the afternoon, I spent an hour again in an internet cafe and downloaded one by one the photos for the El Cocuy Day 1 articles, reduced them one by one, and finally posted one article at least. Yeah, was happy. Then I went back to the hostel and met with Annemone again and we went to the nearby Santa Lucia pizzeria where I had a 4 Cheese pizza.
After that, we walked to the main square. It was funny to see the dog in the middle of everyone, enjoying himself too.
We bought some beers in a nearby shop and went to sit on the stairs where I had eaten my ice-cream earlier on in the afternoon.
At some point it started raining so we went back to the hostel, just before it rained even more heavily. There we finished our beers chatting in the sofas there. Val, Fred and Eric came back too and we chatted a bit. Then we all went to bed in our dorm. Luckily, no snorer there that night!
Next day, off to Bogota!