So there we were…beginning our honeymoon the best way we know how – by sleeping in the Fort Lauderdale airport – ahh, life on the road again for The Blyth’s!
Many people asked us if we were going to write a blog about this trip and we had shrugged it off as a short adventure and that there might not be much to report home about, but given the misconception many people have about Colombia, we thought it would be helpful to share more about our trip and what a wonderful experience we have had so far.
It took us a day or two to get our travel legs back but when we arrived in Bogotá after a sleepless overnight in the airport, the crazy taxi driver brought us both back to reality. We quickly realized we were back on the road and in a place where taxi drivers find it acceptable to go 100 mph while you can’t find a seatbelt in the backseat. After settling into our private room at the hostel, we headed out to find some food and explore the city. One of the first things you notice when wandering the streets is the graffiti everywhere. You think it must be legal because there is so much of it, but we learned it is in fact against the law. The second thing we noticed was all the policemen, not only roaming the streets but also stationed on several main blocks. In a country like this, we were a bit unsure if they would be on our side if something went down, but it made us feel slightly better none the less. La Candeleria (the area where we were staying) is considered the ‘old city’ and the historic buildings and narrow streets gave it a lot of charm for such a big city. We spent our time checking out all the nearby sites, old churches, the main square and the many judicial buildings that surround it.
It didn’t take us long to be ready to move on from the capital city and we soon landed in what felt like a world away. We arrived in Villa de Leyva later than expected after a “direct” bus not only stopped a million times to let people on and off, but also took the most indirect way possible. We quickly found a cute hostel just off the main street, dropped our bags and went out exploring. Visiting here is like taking a step back in time. The streets are made from original cobblestone, all of the buildings are painted white with terracotta roofs and the town sits below a wonderful backdrop of rolling green mountains. When you wander the narrow streets and you can’t help but eventually run into Plaza Mayor, the main square with a large church, straight out of an old Spanish western movie. After popping in a few restaurants to check out some menus for dinner, we were stunned at the prices, but after a stroll around the plaza, we quickly realized that we were not the only tourists. This is where rich Colombians, many from Bogotá, come to spend their weekends, spending money that we were a little shocked so many of them had. So far we have found all of Colombia to be very expensive and wonder how many locals can pay these prices based on the average low salary. All of the accommodation, food and transportation has been much higher than we anticipated.
Even though we only spent one night in Villa de Leyva, we had a great time. We did what all the local tourists do; we wandered the quiet streets, drank beer in the Plaza, ate an expensive pizza at a nearby restaurant and just soaked up the cities charm. Before leaving, we were able to explore the surrounding hills with a quick hike to get views from above. Overall, it was a short trip, but definitely a highlight for us so far.
Now off to do some more adventures before hitting the beach…more to come!
- Doing a Bogotá Bike Tour where we got to explore the city by bike. We were able to cover a lot of ground and get a lot of insight about the country from our guide. We are also thankful neither one of us got hit by a car or bus, there were a few close calls.
- The quaint cit of Villa de Leyva and the surrounding hills
- The beautiful countryside we have passed so far on our bus rides, the country is stunning in all directions
- A noisy room in Bogotá with loud guests which made for some sleepless nights (are we getting old or what?)
- Our “direct” bus that took 2 hours longer than it should have, we don’t have as much travel time as before so it was frusterating!