Located about a one-hour's drive away from Chiquinquira (and about three hours from Bogota) is the lovely colonial town of Villa De Leyva. Leyva, which is at the foot of a mountain at the edge of a valley, has been around for over 500 years and is exceptionally well preserved. This is the (large and required) main square near the center of town with the mountains visible beyond:
Most of the town is a grid of very clean cobble-stone streets with white buildings and terracotta roofs. Just like in Lanzarote, the trim on every building in town is painted in one of two colors, green or brown. Walking around, looking at the shops and restaurants, is surprisingly serene:
The whole town feels like something by Disney or from a movie set. If you're like 99% of the folks reading this, your image and expectations of Colombia probably have nothing to do with scenes like these. Although there were a bunch of non-Colombian tourists (the most I've seen so far), it's nothing like the numbers you'd have if Leyva was located somewhere in Mexico. With images like this:
...maybe that can change. There are other better-known colonial towns in Colombia but I'm surprised that Levya isn't one of them. It should be. Anyway...enough of that.
While walking around the town, I saw lots of nice architecture and scenery. I liked this house with its Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and Baby Bear windows:
The area where Villa De Leyva is located used to be part of the ocean a long time ago. It's known for being a place where lots of fossils are found. Just outside of the center of town is a small museum that surrounds a fairly-well-preserved fossil of a Kronosaurus, which was a large sea animal. The museum costs a couple of dollars to enter and it's probably worth a quick stop if you're already in Leyva.
Oh, right. I did mention in the title that the trip was a roommate reunion. Well, we got the (Barcelona) band back together since we were all in Colombia at the same time. Thanks to Diana, David, and David's folks for the fun day in Villa De Leyva. Let's do it again soon...in...let's say...California and/or Barcelona?