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Colombia (W1): Two Much Anticipated Reunions

My arrival and my two wonderful reunions; Bogota, Helen’s Flat and the Salt Cathedral; and a weekend in the beautiful Villa de Leyva with fuegos pirotecnicos, Christmas Carols and uneven cobblestones.

sunny 34 °C

I arrived in Colombia confident in my newly acquired Spanish speaking skills, only to be baffled by the women at customs when she asked me what flight I arrived in on. I think I will probably always feel like a beginner…

Helen met me at the airport, as promised, and we gassed non-stop in the taxi to her flat, which is beautiful; sadly I didn’t take any photos (we were very busy gassing). We spent the majority of two days together, visiting the Salt Cathedral (which was exceptionally impressive), taking taxis, drinking coffee, taking taxis, eating cake (and other nice food, including an interesting and exceptionally delicious new fruit; the pitaya), going to the cinema to watch Hope Springs (it was very good, and I cried at least 3 times, maybe 4), and going to a Colombian Christmas Party (also called a Novena) to meet Helen’s friends from school and try some traditional Colombian delicacies and drinks … and did I mention about the taxi’s??

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Inside the Salt Cathedral, it used to be a salt mine and the walls are 85% salt

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A very pretty carving in the wall of the mine (left)
Me looking very happy by the side of my first toilet paper machine (right).
Yes that is right in colombia they sell toilet paper in the bathrooms in the same machines we sell tampos and condoms... very weird.

On day two, at approximately the same time I arrived, I bunddelled myself into yet another taxi, returning once again to the airport, but this time to meet my beloved. He was rather upset that it wasn’t the other way round; it is after all his country, he should by all rights have been meeting me at the airport, but there I was on the other side of the glass… in fits of tears (of course), waiting impatiently for Leon to notice me, and then waiting impatiently for his bags to appear on the carrousel before we both sped towards the exit and re-enacted a (still tearful) real-hello face-to-face.

After a late night catching up, and an early morning the next day (because of everything we had to do) we were rushing around Bogota, using more taxi’s, having a small but yummy breakfast at a traditional little eatery, sending Leon’s case to Bogata, having lunch at the restaurant of Leon’s aunt and finally getting on the bus to Villa de Leyva. We got to the bus station in the nick of time, as the traffic in Bogota is horrendous, getting on the bus at about 2pm, and then picking up Helen (and various others naturally) at close to 3pm at the last stop on the edge of Bogota, before continuing on to our destination.

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Villa de Leya was a beautiful little village, it is usually very touristy but it was even busier than usual this weekend because of the festival to turn on the christmas lights, but despite the crowds it was worth the visit.

The three of us spent an entertaining day and a half together in Villa de Leyva; we saw the fireworks on Friday and weren’t that impressed (only later discovering they were the practise ones). Then on Saturday we had a delicious Colombian breakfast, compete with hot chocolate and cheese (for me anyway), which is a local delicacy; and we went on a walk of the local countryside (up a hill, to see a little waterfall and a beautiful view) and did a little bit of shopping (as is natural to Helen and I).

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Me and Leon at the top looking back down on Villa de Leyva

we ate a delicious Mexican dinner, followed quite naturally by coffee and cake; and then we went back for round two for the fireworks, which was a competition between five fireworks companies, and whilst each display was very good, after 2 hours of waiting for and then watching fireworks my feet and my back were aching like crazy and we were all quite happy to force our way out of the crush towards bed.

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These were the crowds, there really were a lot of people there!!

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And some of the fireworks to give you an idea...

On Sunday after a French patisserie breakfast, we parted ways, Helen went back to Bogota, ready for school on Monday and Leon and I (more often on the same page with regards to coffee and food) continued on to have a second, more Colombian, breakfast before departing for San Gil…

Posted by marajade1_200 20:27 Archived in Colombia

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