Villa de Leyva has not changed since 1547 when the Spanish conquistadores designed the town on a grid iron layout as a fortified settlement. A similar design seems to suit all settlements in Spanish South America from Cuba to Colombo. Low buildings with windows & balconies overlook the large empty cobbled square with narrow cobbled streets leaving at each corner. When I repeat & say cobbles I mean cobbles. Not your little French, stone sized cobbles. I am saying smooth rocks the size of a conquistador’s head or larger, over which one stumbles up, around, down & over risking a fall into the depths. Slightly smoother & more regular steps always dominate one side of the square leading up to the church.
Villa de Leyva is no different. Butch Cassidy & Sundance would be at home here, ready for their final showdown. I kept expecting a low whistle as Clint Eastwood noisily clatters into town. The only difference is the buildings now house cafes, bars & restaurants & classy tourist crafts and the square itself is home to the last days of the ‘wood festival’ – plants & garden furniture!
The church dominates both the square and the lives of the people.
It is also a great place for a game of Hide & Seek.
When in Colombia gotta drink coffee. They are very proud of the quality of their coffee and so we have to sample the wares of one of the many coffee houses around the square rubbing shoulders with the locals. I have to say, this is for me heaven.
As you all know I appreciate a good stylish hat. Well I am truely put to shame here as you can see from this selection.
I will leave you with Eduardo & Pilar – a lovely couple who run a sandwich bar with a French ‘twist’. Thank you for open heart and your friendly spirit, and the wine!!
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