Villa de LeyvaNovember 29, 2017 in Colombia
We left the San Gil area & headed off the beaten track on a windy, occasionally paved road to a great little spot that some earlier overlanders had discovered. A short walk from the road is a river that runs over smooth rock bed but has sudden & deep round holes - a bit like Swiss Cheese! Maya discovered this the hard way by happily trotting along in the very shallow water until suddenly there was no hard ground beneath her & she had an unexpected swim!
We spent a fun afternoon here and found a lovely camp spot at a local swimming hole, although we did have to drive through a river crossing to get there. The next morning we visited the nearby town of Guadeloupe, which had a nice hustle & bustle about it along with some incredible BBQ (basically half a cow on a fire) that the chef took great pride in letting us taste - we of course bought some for our lunch.
We continued on to the colonial town of Villa de Leyva, an incredible town of white-washed houses, cobbled streets and the biggest town square in Latin America. The scenery here is stunning, with glorious rolling fields and the high peaks create a lovely microclimate.
This was also to be where Phil would start a new decade!
On his birthday after an early round of Bucks Fizz we rode our bikes to look at the worlds most complete example of a kronosaurus (marine dinosaur). At 110 million years old it made Phil feel less ancient and I managed to find him another big fish as he’s become accustomed to on his birthday! We cycled on to see the calendar of the Muisca people who were the inhabitants here before the Spanish came along and massacred them. The calendar consisted of precisely placed phalic stones arranged so that the first light of the day would cast a shadow over other stones so they could follow the equinoxes for planting and harvesting. We had a wonderfully enthusiastic guide that really gave us an insight into the Muisca society and science behind the calendar. We finished off the ride with the obligatory tea & cakes.
The previous evening we had a lovely meal in a fancy restaurant, where the owner tickled the ivories in the background, but I'd spotted a fondue restaurant and didn't see why I couldn't have two birthday meals. Unfortunately when we arrived ravenous after our long ride and wanting to ease the aches with a massive cheese overdose, they were shut despite earlier telling us they would be open.
The drive out of town up through a high pass was even more spectacular, with landscape reminiscent of the states albeit it on a smaller scale.Read more