Up in the Mountains, Relaxing in the Heavens
July 17-20, 2017
We road tripped from July 17-20 to an enchanting village called Villa de Leyva. Even though it’s only a 3 hours drive from Bogotá (not including stopping for lunch which of course was about 2 extra hours), we didn’t end up arriving till the evening. The house we rented was up in the hillside, with no lights nearby, so we couldn’t see the unbelievable view in front of us until we woke up the next morning. The night was spent with a quick trip to town where we found a huge festival going on, celebrating the Virgen del Carmen. Music, people and dancing filled the normally empty and vast town square. Upon returning to the house, we popped a few bottles of wine, and gazed at the starry sky, the Milky Way lighting the whole sky. The constellations were new to my eyes, since we were so close to the equator compared to back in San Francisco! It was stunning.
We woke up to the most beautiful site. The house sits atop a sloping hill, with the Andes mountains surrounding the valley below on three sides. There were flowers everywhere, chickens running about, and birds chirping. The house had a hammock, which was fought over just about every minute that we were in the house. With coffee in hand, it was one of the most relaxing mornings of my life! We explored the grounds, and found a large garden with jalapenos, herbs, lettuce, tomatoes, corn and so much more. We found lemon trees and apple trees, and a huge pond in the back. We found a tree house, a small soccer field and even two dogs who belonged to the owners of the house (they live in a smaller house in the back).
Once we made it out of the house, well after noon, we decided to explore the village of Villa de Leyva. It’s so quaint, with cobblestone streets and most of the buildings painted white, with red tile roofs and colored doors, balconies and windows. Flowers were blooming over the walls, doorways and roofs of the houses. We had lunch at a small place near the town square, and it was there that I learned about Ajiaco. Ajiaco is a soup made with chicken, potatoes and corn. On the side you get cream and capers, and then a massive avocado (literally the size of my hand) and some rice. I dumped everything in there. It was incredible. The flavors! So delicious. It was so warm, on a slightly rainy day. After lunch, we kept exploring the town, and stumbled upon cows, sheep, dogs, and even a horse with a Colombia cowboy riding it down the street. It looked like something from a movie. We polished off the afternoon with coffee (of course) and watched the town square light up as it went from afternoon, to dusk, to evening, to night.
We woke up to another beautiful day, sunny skies with clouds that floated gently overhead, close enough that you could almost touch them. Another morning spent wandering through the gardens, trying to get the best pictures of all of the picture perfect flowers.
After our usual breakfast of scrambled eggs, papaya, arepas and coffee, we headed to another nearby village called Raquira, known for it’s colorful buildings, hammocks, pottery and vibrant textiles. I so badly wish I bought a hammock when we were there, but I have no place for it my apartment. Next time, I’ll grab one. The orange buildings with rainbows of hammocks hanging from the roofs, next to the orange pottery with bright and colorful rugs to the side. It was a marvel to see. One building was painted the colors of the Colombian flag, which is as bright as Colombia itself: a thick stripe of yellow, followed by a stripe of blue and then red.
After grabbing lunch at a restaurant which overlooked the town, we made our way back to Villa de Leyva to enjoy the last night of watching the town square light up as the sky darkens. Of course, we got coffee first.
The last morning in Villa de Levya was a relaxing one (just like the others). Many games of uno were played, the hammock was fought over, and the final 100 pictures were taken. We finally said goodbye.
On the drive back to Bogotá, we stopped at Andrés Carne de Res, for lunch/dinner. What an experience. I think we were there for 4 hours. We had so much delicious food, drinks and dancing. It can’t be beat!
Even though it was only 4 days, it was unbelievably relaxing, and so beautiful. I loved every second. From swinging in the hammock, and not leaving the house until after noon, to gazing at the Milky Way stretched across the sky and admiring the view of flowers, sky and Andes mountains. I hope to one day return! If anyone needs an excursion outside of Bogotá, Villa de Leyva (and Raquira!) is a must-see.