Friday, May 6, 2011

seeing Colombia: Villa de Leyva part IV

That's right folks. Not done yet.

Not by a long shot.

If you missed the first several instalments, I'm happy to provide these handy links:

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This is taken from "part I" of our Villa de Leyva trip:
Villa de Leyva (full name Nuestra Senora de la Villa Santa Maria de Leyva - rolls off the tongue doesn't it?) is a small town with a population of about 9000 people and is a place where time seems to stand still. The streets are still cobbled*, the walls still whitewashed, and the architecture is pure colonial. It was declared a National Monument in 1954 in order to preserve its unique architecture.
The town centres around the main square -Plaza Mayor- which is supposedly the largest in South America at 120m by 120m. It's completely cobbled and almost completely devoid of any decoration except the fountain in the centre. I don't know if it was this lack of ornamentation that would otherwise help with perspective, but it didn't seem that big! Although I've only been to Plaza Simon Bolivar here in Bogota once (during a tour of the Christmas lights when it was PACKED with throngs of people), surely this plaza in tiny Villa de Leyva can't be bigger... but can Wikipedia and Lonely Planet be wrong??
Either way, it was definitely an interesting place to visit... either at night in the rain for a much-later-than-usual supper (with three cranky, starving boys) or during the late morning for a much-needed latte and lemonades while we waited for the shops to open. It's surrounded by restaurants, cafes, bars, shops carrying artisanal goods, some small hotels and the plain-yet-impressive Iglesia Parroquial and is the main thoroughfare for much of Villa de Leyva's foot traffic. So great people watching!
And finally, on our last day in Villa de Leyva, the timing AND THE WEATHER came together so we could actually walk around the town a bit. It was a Friday and we were out pretty early, so we had to wait a bit for all the shops to open. To kill time, we walked around the square, took pictures, took some more pictures, and stopped for the afore mentioned latte and some lemonades.

As you'll see from the pictures, the theme of terracotta tiled roofs, whitewashed walls and dark green trim is repeated throughout the town. Villa de Leyva is also known for its balconies, courtyards, and cobbled streets.

And stray dogs.

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I couldn't resist posing the boys in front of this great old door. Notice the '12-24' address above the frame? Remind me to tell you about the address system here in Colombia some day. At first I found it a bit confusing, but now I love it. Genius.

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Because of the rain and the cobbled streets and the lack of underground drainage/sewer system, all of the doors were two or three steps up off the street. Andrew and Simon HAD to climb up and over every. single. set. of stairs we passed. 

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Until daddy took matters into his own hands...


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While the main store I was hoping to look in (a yarn store!) wasn't open, there were a few other shops I was able to peak into. As you can see, the boys were really into shopping...

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I love this picture of the terracotta tiles waiting to be installed. It is so Colombia to me.

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See? Does it look that big to you? I guess it does if you have nothing to compare it to... I'll have to take my mom to Plaza Simon Bolivar when she's here (in a few weeks!) so we can compare.

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Check out the cobbled stones. I can't tell you how many times the boys tripped and fell walking through the plaza. The roads in the town are no smoother. Driving around was not terribly comfortable at almost 33 weeks pregnant and each car ride was one loooong Braxton Hicks contraction. I guess if this baby girl is looking like she's going to be late, I'll know where to go!

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I know these two pictures are essentially the same, but I like them both.

And it's my blog.

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The simple-yet-still-impressive Iglesia Parroquial.

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Sights from around the Plaza... a potted palm and column, and a tired-of-walking four year old Canadian.

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more columns and cobbles

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more silly boys

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Since Liam took the two pictures above, I couldn't very well tell Simon he couldn't have a turn. It's only been recently that he's even showed any interest in my camera, so I have to be careful when I let Liam use it. Not only is there the risk of Simon dropping it, but it's also far too heavy for him to hold up to his eye while concentrating on the shutter. All the pictures end up tilted. He also takes about four frames per second from the moment it's laid in his grubby little paws...

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not quite following the rule of thirds, but not bad

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more centered this time (probably to get the dog in the shot)

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okay, Simon, that's enough!

And then a few timer shots... since someone has pregnancy brain and forgot to bring the remote. Clearly sprinting across treacherously uneven cobblestone when in the third trimester of pregnancy is far more fun and efficient...

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I'm not sure if I like the black & white or colour version better.

While we were checking the playback to see if any of the shots were keepers, we noticed that the fountain looked like a big sombrero... and SINCE WE'RE SO COOL, we had to take a couple shots with Peter wearing said sombrero... and despite the looks on Liam and Simon's faces, they thought it was pretty funny.

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I have over 100 pictures just from these few hours spent in and around the square in Villa de Leyva, but I think these 29 are enough for one post.

Tune in next time for More Silly Boys, More Columns and Cobblestone, and An Old Man On A Bench...

Give me your best shot at Better in BulkPhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Lolli
I've added this post to the Photo Story Friday link at Better in Bulk and My Chaos My Bliss.

Even though this was all only three weeks ago, I'm going to link up for the Flashbacks at Tia's and Alicia's too. 
I'm a rebel.

Friday Photo Flashback


  1. Great post! So glad that you guys are getting to enjoy parts of the area. And what an experience for the boys. The pictures were great and you are looking wonderful! I cannot wait to see what is next, especially "old man on a bench."

  2. I love these pictures! Some remind me a little of Santa Fe, New Mexico. The family photo is great and it looks like you may have a new photographer in the family!! You are looking very spry there, Amy! Love your sombrero, Peter!

  3. WOW! These are wonderful photos!!! What a great experience for your family!! And you look awesome!


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