November 23-25, 2007
It took me a whole day to get to Villa de Leyva on a series of buses from Bogotá. It still is difficult for me to get over how much time is wasted on transportation to seemingly close places in South America. Villa de Leyva was a small colonial town dating back to hundreds of years ago with whitewashed buildings everywhere, a kind of small version of Popayan. Most of the town was nice, but the plaza in the center, which was supposedly the largest in Colombia at over one hundred meters in both length and width, had nothing in it save for a small broken fountain in the center. No trees or benches make for a useless and ugly plaza, which carries over to the entire town.
While I was searching for a place to stay, a lady named Rita approached me and offered me a spare room in her house. It was kind of like Couchsurfing, except I had to pay. I think Rita had been driven a bit crazy by the small town lifestyle because she constantly talked to her cat as if he were human. She even cooked him a big steak dinner one night, cut it up, and fed the little bits to him one at a time. Rita's real estate business seemed to be doing pretty well with all the foreigners wanting to buy houses in the area, but the prices (upwards of 1 billion pesos) looked ridiculously high to me considering that it's Colombia after all. I just hope her occasional boarding of the tourists brought in enough money to finance her cat-pampering habits.
The photo album for this entry is here.