Friday, July 19, 2013


Living at a hostel has provided me the opportunity to meet people from all over the world. I think I lucked out by staying at less of a party hostel and more of a quiet oasis where guests relax in the evening and spend most of their energy going on adventures during the day. I'm no longer in the dorm and now have my own little space in a loft above the kitchen. 

There are lots of things to do around here and I've been checking things off the list, sometimes solo and sometimes with other travelers. Below is a little photo tour of the adventures around Villa de Leyva.
We'll start with a short bus ride to the Perikera waterfalls:

This is Ben (from Australia):


Gobble gobble!

View looking down from where the trail begins. There is a zip line that you can take all the way down but apparently it isn't the most secure because 6 people have died doing it! It is actually illegal for the operators to continue offering this service, but they continue to put people's lives at risk on the weekends. Glad I knew this tip from a local prior to strapping in!

Next stop is a solo bike ride to the Marquez Winery (Yes it's true: wine is produced here!)

They have about 40 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Vines are 20 years old and took 8 years to start producing grapes. I went in the middle of the week when it was slow so I got a private tour and tasting with the winemaker where I could pick his brain about the grapes and wine making process. 

Here is where they do their crushing, de-stemming, pressing and fermentation. 

Their Cab Sauv spends between 6 and 18 months in French and American oak. 

The final product is quite good! ABV is 12-13 percent so the wine has a good balance of acidity, fruit and tannins. I bought a bottle to bring back to the hostel but unfortunately it was knocked off the counter by a giant bag of water and shattered all over the floor! 

Next stop, Raquira! Raquira is a small, colorful town filled with shops selling pottery and other artesanĂ­a crafts such as bags, hammocks, jewelry, wind chimes, baskets and ponchos. It has a nice plaza in the center with interesting statues and a bakery pumping out fresh bread all day long. 

Sculpture of bull fight:

Little tea set carved from the Tagua seed.  (Also known as vegetable ivory) each peice is about the size of a ping pong ball so the detail here is really incredible:

My companions, Ben and Willy (Willy is a guide for Colombian Highlands, where I am volunteering). 

Passing by the mayor in Villa de Leyva:

Finally, we are going to visit one of Colombia's 55 National Parks to hike up 3600 meters (11,800 feet) to the Iguaque Laguna. This is where the Muisca people beleived that mankind was created. The weather up there can get chilly so bring a jacket!

The Muisca people believed that the woman Bachue emerged from the lagoon with a baby boy in her arms. When he was grown up they pro-created and populated the land. In their old age they turned into serpents and returned to the lagoon. On a warm day the lagoon is a nice swimming hole. The day we went was pretty cold so we took in the view for about 10 minutes and then headed back to warm weather at the bottom. 

It's amazing how much there is to explore just within a small radius from where I am staying. Colombia is a huge country (the size of California and Texas combined). It would take years to see it all. For now, I am quite content getting to know the people and places around here. 

No comments:

Post a Comment