Bogotá and Villa de Leyva

January 30, 2017

Travel is great, but returning to a place you’ve already been is amazing. Returning to my first destination was near-unavoidable; in my experience it’s cheapest to fly into the Bogotá when trying to reach anywhere in South America. Revisiting Villa de Leyva was intentional though. (I actually feel really guilty about even writing about this place. I like it so much that I don’t want anyone to know about it.) I alluded to the experience and knowledge I’d gained over my previous Colombian trips in the previous post, but I haven’t actually been to a great many places here. It turns out that I’m not venturing out much during this trip either.

That being said, it’s so cool to run around trying to find people you’ve met before. I’ve kept in loose contact with some of my friends here so I may as well make an effort to reunite since I’m here. All the Bogotá people are impossible to meet up with, but it’s been pretty easy to find the Villa people. Just to calculate quick, I’ve made 1.2 friends a day since I’ve been in Colombia, and I think it would be nice if they were my friends’ friends too. In Villa it’s going to be easy to make the introductions, and it seems like their networks almost put my friends in the same social sphere anyway. Contrast to Bogotá: I have to investigate further, but it seems like the bogotanos are really busy all the time.

A ton of stuff is the same, but some things have changed. Estación 85 Pausa Café Bar is gone now, but the corner of Calle 85 con Carrera 15 is crazy-full of people on a Friday night. Bands were setting up and performing ad hoc, people ride in on their bicycles, and the Carulla right there is full of people buying booze to drink in the plaza.

Villa has really changed. There are more shops and cafes open than I remember, and the foot traffic looks to be a lot more international. I think that’s why I’m finally permitting myself to write about it: the secret is out, and Villa de Leyva is a tourist destination. Foreign investment is trickling in and the extrañeros are moving here. Fine, but please, please, please don’t become an Antigua, Guatemala.

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