illa de Leyva
September 1-3, 2004
We didn't do much of anything in Villa de Leyva, being mostly content to wander the streets of town and admire the wonderful old courtyard houses that have been so lovingly restored. We did make a couple of walks out of town to visit a small archeological museum and to see a very famous fossil of a large crocodile-like dinosaur called a ??. Perhaps that was our favorite day, walking through the countryside, talking to friendly locals to get directions, and ogling the nice houses that rich Bogotans are building on the edge of the colonial town.
The Plaza Mayor struck us as very unusual being so bare and austere, used as we are to Mexican and Central American town squares that are almost always lush and green and scattered with benches for people to sit and watch the world go by. But we also liked it just because it was different and because it was so beautifully proportioned and the whitewash of the buildings contrasted so nicely with the grey stone cobbles.
The Casa de las Fundadores is a religious conference center for an order of nuns whose founder was born here in Villa de Leyva. We encountered it on our walk to see the fossil and were surprised to find such a modern church and happy that we were allowed to wander its grounds and especially to enjoy its very nice cactus garden.