On two separate occasions we found ourselves walking along the highway heading back into town. Not wanting to wait around for the bus to show up, we preferred to ir al dedo, or hitchhike. And both times within a few minutes we were picked up by some older folks with a nice ride. The license plates said Bogotá D.C., and they confirmed that yes, it was a little weekend trip for them.
Villa de Leyva is only a few hours north of Bogotá and is popular with, what I perceive to be, wealthy Bogotanos. The town has a feel similar to Leavenworth, WA (but without the fake beginnings) – a cute weekend getaway, with beautiful buildings, some decent dining options and above-average prices. We’ve been really enjoying some of these dining options, adhering to our new policy for increased happiness: spend more money on food.
I liked this town immediately. I think it’s fun to be in a tourist destination, but one that is a Colombian tourist destination. We have seen few foreigners here. After sorting out our lodging (almost couldn’t find a room for Saturday night), I’m also glad to be here on the weekend – to witness the hordes descend on this little town, if only for a night.
Villa de Leyva used to be under the ocean, before that whole polar-ice-cap-and-Andean-mountains thing happened. When the mountains did start to pop up, it trapped a small salt water lake in this area, leading to the existence of some awesome 115 million year old marine reptile fossils. One of our day trips was out to El Fósil, to see some impressive Ichtyosaurus and Plesiosaurus fossils. Staring at the reconstructed bones, and artistic rendering of what the reptiles might have looked like, I recalled those long-ago days of my youth when I would spend a whole meal engrossed in my sweet dinosaur placemat.