With the bike-mares behind us our next stop was San Gil, a small town set in the mountains full of adventure. We got half-way there and our bike problems began again. Gas was pouring out of the carburetor. Although it was another beautiful ride, the stress of mechanical issues tainted the beauty of the landscape. Another mechanic and another repair, this time it was the float in the carburetor. Luckily it was a quick fix and we headed to La Pacha Campground set way up in the mountains outside of town.
We set up our tent and drove to Barichara for dinner. Barichara was another pretty colonial town with white-washed buildings, grand churches and skinny cobblestone streets surrounded by mountains.
The next day we went paragliding for the first time! We both had butterflies as the wind picked us up off the cliff and brought us over the mountains to see the small towns below. It was an incredible sensation and something we would love to do again.
After two nights in La Pacha it was time to move on. The next stop was Villa de Leyva, a valley sitting at a high altitude with a desert feel to it. Since the town has no mineral deposits nearby to exploit it has undergone little development in the last 400 years, meaning that it retains most of the original cobblestone streets and colonial architecture from the 16th century (thanks Wikipedia!).
After looking at a few guesthouses we opted for the cheaper option of camping. It was a strange ‘campsite’ – really just a huge fenced in patch of grass. There was one other character camping there named Antoine. Our first introduction to him was him offering us bologna from one hand while his other gripped a giant empty bottle of whiskey. He looked like a street kid but once he awoke from passing out mid-afternoon we spoke to him around a fire and learned he was from Costa Rica and had a masters in music in which he later demonstrated by singing some Latin opera.
We spent the evening walking around and taking in the town – including Plaza Mayor, the largest square in Colombia at 1400 square metres. Eventually we sat down at an Italian restaurant and enjoyed food and wine on a balcony over Plaza Mayor while a live band played some great music.
Although there were things to do we’d been to so many colonial towns (in fact, at one point I had to ask Jesse to remind me what town we were in). We were too excited to get to the capital city of Colombia and left after only one night.