Villa de Leyva

We`re in Villa Leyva right now in the mountains of Colombia, north of Bogota. It’s an old colonial town with whitewashed buildings surrounding the largest plaza in Latin America. Its cobbled streets host restaurants, art galleries and cafes.This weekend is a long one. The streets predictably packed with parents roaming as the kids chase the pigeons and the dogs sniff each other. Friends sit drinking beers on the steps while young couple take pictures.

I`m here with Gab, Natalia and Claudia. Last night we went to Claudia`s father`s country house, deep along the dark, rough roads amongst the rolling vallies. There are no lights out here and the sky had clouded over. The house was pretty sensational. Using the local igneous landscape as structural support, wide panes of glass support the high, peaked ceilings. The daughter`s bedroom actually contains a massive boulder as part of the side wall.

Claudia`s father Eric is Swiss but moved here over 30 years and says he could never move back. The lifestyle and I imagine, the lack of rules and a woman snared him. Dinner involved using the open fire to slow cook the salted short lion of a cow. Coupled with some Swiss cabbage made by Claudia, some hash brown potato and Spanish wine, it was delicious.

The true event of the evening was meeting Rex, Eric`s Fila Brasilero. One of the four banned breeds in the UK, Rex was not only big, athletic and energetic. He was also hungry. His breeding wasn`t the best. As a pup he was fed too much bloodied meat, developing intestinal problems but now, nursed back into health by Eric after he adopted him, he was full of beans. He was a truly intimidating sight. His best friend Scratch, the German Shepherd wasn`t as interested in us or the food but he out-matched Rex for size and apparently strength.

The town got quieter the next day. Gab, Natalia and Claudia left along with most of the crowds.They have to work. Every day is a long weekend for me right now. I decided to stay and read and write a touch. I have about two more weeks in Colombia and for the last six weeks, I haven`t been able to stop, read, think or even study Spanish as much as I wanted. Still I have this year for that.

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