From Bogota, north to a small town called Villa De Leyva. I was pleased to be journeying with a German girl called Gesine, a doctor who had been travelling for nearly a year, and two tall fire-fighting Canadians, brother and sister, Luke and Rae-Anne. Villa de Leyva is a most agreeable, picturesque town with cobbled streets and immaculately presented whitewashed houses overlooked by forested hills. Our hostel, Colombian Highlands, was great too, with hammocks and pretty setting but Luke and Rae had been assigned a double bed on the assumption that they were a couple. With no other beds available I let Luke have mine and took the opportunity to camp in the garden, saving £2.80, or at hostel fridge* prices - four beers.
The four of us set out for a day of sightseeing in Villa de Leyva.
Site 1: Clay house, £1.75. A house made almost entirely from clay. Quite cool as houses go.
Site 2: Big Stone, free. Marked on the tourist map but not exactly a sight. It was fairly big and it was indeed a stone.
Site 3: Estación Astronómica Muisca, £1.75. An archaeological site over 2000 years old. There are two lines of stones that helped to tell the ancient Muisca people when to plant crops and celebrate the equinoxes. This clever calendar takes up a small part of the site, the rest is a field full of large stone penises, worshiped to help fertility. Well worth a visit if only to watch - and participate in - the hugging of a 15 foot nob.
Site 4: Fossil museum, £2.10. Some big dinosaur fossils and a bunch of amonites.
Site 5: Pozos Azules 1 (blue pools 1), £1.05. Yes it was only a quid but it was ridiculous. How someone had the cheek to stick a rope up and label this as a tourist attraction is beyond me. There was nothing blue about them, they were browny green and set in barren, unattractive land. It resembled a building site before the building starts. The idea that someone might genuinely enjoy looking at a brown pond is a joke. I am certain that there has never been a return customer to the Pozos Azules.
Site 6: Pozo Azule 2 (blue pool 2), £1.05 to look at it, £2.10 to swim in it. Still not blue, still not pretty but it had three wooden diving boards so we cooled off in the water (me in my pants because I'd lost my swimming shorts somewhere in America).
Although the sites were not all that great the day was a good 'un finished off by making pasta, chatting and playing cards together outdoors. Certainly beats a day at work.
*Help yourself to beer and drinks from the fridge, keep a tally and pay when you leave. Marvellous idea.
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