Back on the road heading to Villa de Leyva

Back on the road heading to Villa de Leyva

While writing I am looking at a night panorama from the window of the holiday house of the family of the general and his wife, the colonel, of the Colombia air force. The town under the hill is called Villa de Leyva, wonderful colonial town just three hours ride from Bogotà, town relevant during the fight for independence and host of the first congress meeting in the history of Colombia.

Why would Sophie, Walter, the new entry Jose and me would be at home of general? Well, Jorge and Marta are relatives of my friend Michelle, that loco guy which used to get me pissed every Thursday at La Cieca wine bar, in Milan. I met them last summer while they were visiting Tuscany, and their son David in another occasion in Milan, and they have been so nice to let us use their holiday home up on the Colombian mountains.

Up here is interesting, it nicely warm in the day, chilled at night, it rains about ten times a year only, it’s 2300 meters high and the locals not only enjoy a beautiful historic town, they also have a desert where they ride their quad bikes, a vineyard, plenty villas, and some very blue small lakes.

The last few days in Bogotà have been nice, but I was craving to get back on the bike and ride. Unfortunately we had to wait as we arrived on friday evening, collected the bikes Saturday from DHL which as usual took a whole day, spending Sunday and Monday which was a bank holiday doing nothing. Wednesday was a big day we spent it finding new tires and break pads for the BMW which costed a bit more then 200$, looking for the only office in town authorises to sell temporary insurance, another 40$ for 3 months permit which we will use for probably ten days only, and then finding another motorbike garage selling BMW parts as I needed the chain kit and a new air filter. We managed to do all of it in a day only because of a great guy called Jeffry. We met this dude Sunday, when he saw the bikes parked while we were looking for a hostel and he came checking out what the hell we were up to. He gave us his number with the option of giving us a hand to find the parts we needed on Wednesday. He seemed really scared we would end up in some dodgy part of town. Anyway, he came to meet us in the morning and drove us around all day, he brought us the the best shop for tires, at the insurance office and back. I can’t think anyone in Italy who would waste a day helping strangers. Great guy. Thank you!

Bogotà is an interesting place, in a city like this you can find everything, massive dodgy areas, where even jeffry was afraid to go but we rode through anyway, a big modern business area with very nice architecture and big sky grates hosting branches of the biggest companies in the world, a leftover central colonial area full of hostels and blocks over blocks of motorcycle mechanics which I think would take all my Saturdays afternoons if they were back home. Oh yes, and people eat chicken in restaurants using plastic gloves in order to don’t get sticky hands.

That night Jose landed in Bogotà, a mate of Walter which will ride with him until Perù. Super nice guy, with a hard rock style very concerned about security and life style and not too keen in motorbikes. A proper new entry which will make the day way more interesting 🙂

Finally, we could leave Bogotà, back on the road after two weeks we were stuck and bored in Panama and Bogotà. First stop Villa de Leyva. When we arrived at the house we couldn’t believe our eyes. We had a villa up the hill with an amazing view just for us! Woooohooo! First move going to buy 30 beers and drink them with the family of the house keeper, Andreas, and his wife Monica. Nice guys with a lovely little daughter called Juanita, which spent the whole night and the whole day after with us, showing us around, the famous main square, which is the biggest of South America according to the locals. For the day Soph took over the motorbike, she rode all day on and off road for the first time but the confidence of a pro, I was so proud of her!! We were following their orange 70’s Renault, through the desert and visit the Laguna, these tiny blue lakes (in which I fell twice just sliding don hill as my Converse are so flat they don’t provide any grip, at least people had a good laugh), to the wine farm where we had the tourist tour and at the end in another pueblo with a colourful market and many sculptures of people urinating (???? none could explain the reason of that…????).

How to fix the helmet spinning system

Simple and stylish!

That morning Andres helped me out fixing my helmet. One piece of the mechanism which moves up and down the viser broke, so it couldn’t stay attached to the helmet any more. We took a @@@@@, made a hole on the side of the viser, screwed it in the helmet and now it works nicely, and it looks quite hipster too!!

That night, on the way home, riding light and nicely fast on dirt roads a bottle of beer exploded in the case of the motorbike soaking drastically the GoPro, Sophie’s phone and the camera. At the moment it seems like the GoPro is gone while the camera and the phone hopefully can be saved. I will need to find another GoPro or a similar video cam. DAMN!

Another time, Soph and me ended up having a great time, in a wonderful place in Colombia which we didn’t even know existed until the receptionist of hostel mentioned it. But as all the other times, it’s not about the fun rides on the desert, it’s not about walking the streets and the main square of this little town so important for the liberty and the history of a whole country, it’s just about the people you come across to, this people that simply care, that have a warm heart and find the time to live life rather then just being alienated as most of us are in the modern European culture. To impress or get noticed we feel the need to have lots of money, dress cool, be super smart, waste our dignity on Facebook or dating apps just to remind people that we still exist. To impress, this people, in all their simplicity, they simply help you for things we usually pay for or that we thing we have to sort out by ourselves, and that just seems so weird and shocking to a middle class city boy like me. There is so much we could learn which our society would benefit from.

BTW, I am considering writing only in Italian from now on, I’m not sure anyone back in London is reading any of this blog, while I’m finding the Italian friends participating a bit more. So, I don’t know, let me know if anyone is interested in posts in English. Thanks.

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  1. Ana 18/01/2016

    waouh sounds amazing! And I like the beer stuff with plenty of different porky meat.. I give you the translation of the board even if in English it does not sound the same as Vino means wine but also came in Spanish : this one who was born and does not drink wine, why did he come? Voila and keep posting in English I am crap at Italian translation (only French, Spanish and English please) 🙂

  2. Massimo 19/01/2016

    Hi Ana! thanks for the encouragement! I will write in English for you. Nice to know at least one is reading

    that plate full of meat is typical here, it’s called paisa and you can find it everywhere. Actually, it’s more or less all you find. Forget a salad or veggies, here you find only bbq and meat of any kind. I like they way they cook chicken breast but not how they do chorizos, they put spices inside which makes me think more to asian food. Steaks are nice, they call beef “carne del res” or “churrasco” depending on the cut. We got amazing rice with browns up the mountains and they have many bakeries where to have nice breakfast. And it’s cheap, but apart that, meat rules here. Perfect trip destination for bbq enthusiast.

  3. Michel Martinez 19/01/2016

    Salve ! My name is MICHEL and not MichelLE ! And then you wonder why I use to get pissed off in la Cieca :0) ! Happy you enjoy Villa De Leyva. Nice place indeed. Buen viaje!!!!

    • Massimo 20/01/2016

      Michelle, I didn’t think you were reading this. How are you?

      It’s hard to not enjoy a place like Villa de Leyva when you get such a house and drink such good coffees in great company.

      So far, Colombia is our favourite country, today we are in Popayan, also very nice.

      How are your girls back in Paris?

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