Let me take you on a little adventure to this magical place where it feels like you are on top of the world:
I'll warn you, I did not take the direct route. The adventure started with a leisurely bike ride with a new friend Alfonso. I met Alfonso and his brother Herman at the bike shop last week and they invited me to their weekly group rides.
It's nice to explore a place with locals who can show you the best routes. Bike path?! Sweet!
We rode to the next town (which is actually only about 4 miles away) and watched some other cyclists start a road race. Some were on mountain bikes and other, more serious riders were on nice road bikes with aerodynamic helmets and elbow bars. Here is Team Vila de Leyva:
After wishing everyone good luck and inflating the tires for the kid to the far left in the pucture, we were off! We zipped down a fun, windy road past farm houses, the dinosaur museum, and the ostrich farm and then up a dirt road to their giant greenhouse of tomatoes. The tomatoes are at the end of their cycle now so they will pick the last of them this week and then cut them all down and plant new ones. Since the temperature here is about the same year round they are able to continuously plant and harvest all year.
After that we decided to ride to another town (Santa Sofia) for lunch. The quiet road climbs up above Villa de Leyva for about 16 miles and offers spectacular views of the countryside.
It's a good thing I bought a neumático (bike tube) at the bike shop because I got a flat tire upon arrival.
The adventure ends with me racing the sun back to Villa de Leyva and losing a pedal along the way. (It wouldnt thread correctly). With a quick stop at the market to get some essentials (wine) I then walked the rest of the way back to the hostel in time to work my evening shift at reception. What a day!
By this point I was so hungry I thought I might pass out. We ate at a little restaurant that serves up whatever they have cooking that day. It came with soup, juice, meat, rice, banana and a salad. It was basic but it hit the spot. Cost: 4 pesos ($2):
The Iglesia Azul is visible from the hill coming into town. It is quite impressive for a dusty little town.
We followed a dirt road down, down, down and were rewarded with amazing views.
Eventually we reached this amazing vista.
Here is the same vista without me blocking the view (the road in the distance is another ride I plan to do another day):
This is what is known as El Paso del Angel (Angel's step). I imagine it got its name from the extremely exposed path with a 500 foot cliff on one side and 200 foot cliff on the other. At onenpoint the trail narrows to just 15 inches wide. You better hope you have an angel protecting you as you cross this path, especially when the wind is blowing!
Did I mention that my crazy friend Alfonso insisted that we continue on with our bikes?!
I'm always up for a challenge!
The sound of water flowing can easily put you into a deep meditation. It's the most peaceful sound in the world.
Ironically, it was a huge drop in elevation to arrive at this spot "on top of the world".