|Because of the traffic jam (left) our bus used side-streets in San Gil, some so steep the bus couldn't get up.|
Villa de Leyva, our destination for three nights, is an old colonial town that has become a huge tourist draw. On weekends, it is packed with tourists, many of them Colombians from Bogota. Some of the old colonial buildings in Villa de Leyva are similar to those in Barichara, but Villa de Leyva is much bigger, much busier, and not as consistently pretty. Still, parts of Villa de Leyva are undeniably beautiful.
|Villa de Leyva's huge plaza|
|Plenty of tourists in Villa de Leyva|
|A pocket park|
|On a pretty residential street in Villa de Leyva|
Luckily, we were staying at a wonderful AirBnB accommodation whose location was just right. We could walk in 10 or 15 minutes to the busy, historic (and touristic) center, but we were well away from the noise and bustle, in a beautiful home that had gardens and quiet space all around.
|The Trujillo home, where we stayed|
|The living room|
|Dr. Trujillo's study (Our bedroom was through the arch on the right, but we'd already messed it up so skipped a photo!|
Our host was Claudia Trujillo. She is a wonderfully warm and good-humored person who made us feel right at home. And she serves the prettiest breakfasts we've ever seen! Her husband Juan is a retired physician, quite old and not too active, but still smart and kind. We enjoyed being in their home tremendously.
|Claudia and her sweet dog Estrella (Claudia is much, much sweeter and cheerier than she appears in this photo!)|
|The start -- only the start -- of one of Claudia's amazing breakfasts|
One thing we noticed right away in Villa de Leyva was the large number of leather-clad motorcyclists in town on the weekend. There was a (mostly Harley) rally drawing riders from all over Colombia. The riders we talked to were super friendly, and we learned that there would be a gathering on Villa de Leyva's huge plaza on Saturday morning. What bikes! What a scene!
|Just a few of the Harleys around the Villa de Leyva plaza|
|Quite a few women came on their Harleys|
|Biker chicks get together for a photo!|
|My favorite bike. Check the front wheel!|
and bread, had more salpicon, and generally enjoyed the scene.
|Saturday market in Villa de Leyva|
|A salamander -- which has meaning in indigenous religion|
|Native America prayer wheel|
|Sometimes there are ceremonies at the bonfire -- notice the labyrinth behind.|
|They say the entire house is one continuous piece of clay, baked in the sun|
The house is made of clay, in turn made of earth. The clay construction baked in the sun. The designer and builder was the Colombian architect Octavio Mendoza. His goal, at least in part, was to show how earth can be used to build environmentally friendly dwellings in arid regions that are otherwise barren of building materials. The place is stunning and more than a little strange.
|The spider-like thing is a chandelier; in the kitchen, all shelves, tables -- everything! -- is made of clay.|
|Angry-bird oven door, also visible in kitchen photo above|
|Exterior details -- what a remarkable sculpture is on the very top of the roof!|
|This is also up on the roof; there is even a barbecue area up here|
On Monday morning we left Villa de Leyva for a single night back at Kylie's apartment and then on to Medellin. There was a German couple there as well, but we saw little of them. Tuesday morning we flew Avianca to Medellin for a few days.