Villa de Leyva… the end of the line

It’s the end of the line for me… I’m worn out, I think it was that intense week in the heat and killer final day to Bogotá that did it… but no matter, Villa de Leyva is the perfect place to rest tired legs before I fly home and start working to get the speed back into my legs for the race season. My flight is on Thursday next week so I have 4 nights of chill time here in Villa, then a couple of days back in Bogotá to scrounge some packing materials for my bike, and for the benefit of my cycling readers I’ll also put together a page of my recommendations and thoughts on cycling in this part of the world, Colombia especially.

OK, back to Villa de Leyva… this is a truly lovely place… mellow as (insert the most mellow thing you can think of here)… a place for wandering centuries old cobbled streets past beautiful old colonial buildings to the gentle notes of latin tunes floating out over the terracotta rooftops, nostrils tickled by the fruity perfume of fresh horseshit in the early morning warmth…! Very much a place for enjoying good coffee (mornings) or ice cold beer (afternoons!) on ancient sunblessed terraces….

Today I have nothing planned bar burning up my remaining film (more on that in a bit), wandering idly, drinking coffee and so on. Tomorrow is market day so that takes care of my morning… Sunday I may just climb the mountain behind the place I’m staying if I can find the energy. Actually, while I am on the topic, a recommendation for a place to stay here… Colombia Highlands (aka Casa Renacer), it’s a beautiful family home about 1km outside of town in it’s own gardens with use of a kitchen and lounge and so on. They have a small dorm room but in the interests of being a decadent slob I am spending a bit more, a whole US$19 for a beautiful suite.. polished floors, old wood beams, nice views front and back, a hammock on the terrace etc etc. Ace.

I’ve posted some snaps of Villa here that will give you some idea… more over the weekend. I am looking forward to processing my films on return to the the UK (45 of them.., and that is not an admission that I actually want to come home…). Maybe I am a luddite (I have old-fashioned thumbshifters on my bike too:o) but I still prefer my film-based Leica for this kind of thing… it is heavy but it is so small, the lenses are stunning, the whole thing is incredibly tough, works without batteries and doesn’t seem bothered by extremes of temperature. It is fantastically discreet for people photography, and most folk don’t know what it is… it’s not very stealable, based on experience everybody who sees it seems to think it is a 30 year old piece of junk… this is very good news for travel somewhere like this… I carry the body, 35mm f2 and 50mm f1.4 lenses plus a couple of 81-series filters in a rather grubby and now very scruffy small canvas shoulder bag for the ultimate in low profile camera kit.

(the fountain in Plaza Mayor)
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2 thoughts on “Villa de Leyva… the end of the line

  • Mark,
    Wonderful pics from Villa de Leyva. I wished two things:
    -That I could be there
    -That your site would get more publicity so people could see a better view of Colombia, and not what we get in the news everyday.

    As I said before I am happy that you got to enjoy it and I am greatful to you for showing other people a better face of my country

  • I think people will slowly realise what a wonderful country Colombia is, it may take a few years but I think in 5 years time the perception of Colombia in the rest of the world will be very much better than it is now. I have had a fantastic time here, the country is beautiful but it is the people who really made my trip special.

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