Villa de Leyva

Heading East – A small colonial gem.

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From Guatape we decided to head east. We’d heard about a small colonial town from some friends and headed into the unknown. Bus routes in Colombia are random and often nonsensical.

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The view on the farm when we first arrived. 

From Guatape we took a 10hr bus ride south to Bogota followed by a 3 hour bus ride north to Tunja, lastly a 1 hour bus north west to Villa de Leyva.

We’ve set up shop with a wonderful family in the countryside. Volunteering has been a great way to spend time with amazing people meanwhile exploring new areas.

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Juan Sol – Son of the owners of the farm, Nitzan and Silvia. 

Volunteering is an exchange of 4 to 5 hours of work for food and accommodation. Here we are spoiled. The food is ridiculously good, all fresh from their garden or the local farmers market. Across the street we purchase fresh milk for approximately USD$1 a gallon.

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Veggie salad fresh from the market. 

The town, Villa de Leyva, is an hours walk away. It’s a picturesque cobble stone colonial town. All the buildings are white, with wood trim, and red tile roofs. The streets are filled with local goods; from pottery, to wool sweaters, to chocolate. Men and women park themselves on benches along the outside of the plaza and watch the passerby’s whilst sipping a Poker (Colombian beer).

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Casual cell phone talk. 

The day we arrived to town, a large rectangle of sandbags was being laid in the middle of the plaza. We later found out it was the setup for the Festival de Caballos (Horse Festival). Villa de Leyva hosts the festival every year, in which different horses (owned in Colombia) from around the world are showcased.

We bought two tickets for USD $4 and anxiously awaited the start. The festival consisted of typical Colombian dancing and horses showing off their own moves (trotting sideways, bowing, jumping, etc). Villa de Leyva was full of Colombians from all over snapping pictures and videos.

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A delicate balance between rider and dancer. 

Every Saturday there is a massive market with fresh produce, artisanal creations, clothes, and second hand items. We strolled the stalls for hours gawking at the colors of the fruits and veggies. Get this, we bought 5 huge avocados for USD$1.50!

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A little amazed at the going on’s in town. 

Then, we scored again when we found a vendor that sold the most amazing olive, oat, wheat, nutty bread. The bread in Colombia is usually white and bland. We ate a loaf of bread accompanied by an avocado and were happy Californians.

The people of Villa de Leyva offer smiling faces and generosity. Most live a “tranquilo” life in the “campesino” (rural area with a lot of agriculture) and seem very relaxed and at ease. It’s truly an incredible place.

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