From Bogotá we headed north, to the architecturally-pure colonial town of Villa de Leyva. We have seen a lot whitewashed adobe walls and red tile roofs now and they continue to appeal. We camped on the grassy grounds of Hostel Rinacer, a little way outside of town. It's a lovely hostel with an outdoor communal kitchen and we chatted for the evening with a big group of Belgians, a Colombiana, a Frenchman and a guy from Nottingham who had taught English in Bogotá. Mike said he would love to stumble on the enclave of Bogotanos speaking English with a Nottingham accent. Our friend for the evening didn't see the humor.
In the morning we rented bikes from the hostel and after the few false starts inherent in using minimally-maintained rental gear rode down the hill and through town. There was a kite festival starting up in the central plaza. (Kite in Spanish is cometa.) We walked our bikes over the cobblestone streets and then rode into the hills. We stopped first at the Pozos Azules, or Blue Holes. They're really more green and the beagle puppy was, as Mike said, worth the price of admission.
From the green pools we biked on to El Fósil and a museum devoted to the fossilized bones of an immense sea creature found in the area, a kronosaurus. A little boy breezed past us through the exhibit, trailing his parents and proclaiming all the exhibits "the same." The myriad examples of spiral shell fossils did support his position but the kronosaurus display was mightily impressive, especially when taken in conjunction with the imaginary and ferocious depictions of the beast.
From the Fossil we rode on to seek out a local archeological site, stone pillars set up by pre-Columbian people and used to identify the changing seasons through the length of the shadows they cast. These pre-Columbians also set up a good many giant stone phalluses, not apparently related to timekeeping. Why the phallic shadows could not be used is lost to history.
We stopped on our way back to town at a little vineyard and sampled their white wines. We did not buy a bottle but agreed that the driest was OK.
Back in town the kite festival was winding up with the emcee showing no inclination to give up his mic. We ate in a local parrilla, excellent beef cut from a slab pinioned at the firey mouth of a brick oven, and made our way slowly back up the hill to our hostel and cozy tent.
The next day we took a bus to Tunja, just an hour away and the only place to get a bus on to our next stop, Parque Nacional Natural Cocuy.
2 days ago