Colombia is a fascinating country. It’s geographically diverse. Spectacular in parts. Better yet, Colombians are some of the most soulful, warm and well-humoured people I’ve been around. I’ve come to love it here.
So... when it got too cold to continue with my Landrover in Europe and Central Asia – I was all too happy to go back to Colombia and to continue my South American journey with the Landcruiser.
For the first month or so I was just wondering around, marking places on the map, reading guidebooks and thinking up a very rough plan of where I’d like to go. There aren’t any deep stories in this blog, but here are the photos – my impressions, my reflections on being back.
After a few days in Medellin, I got my Landcruiser back on track and headed to a beautiful little town called Village De Leyva. Villa De Leyva is one of the Heritage Villages of Colombia. Most of these are pretty stunning. Villa De Leyva is no exception. It’s said to have the most impressive colonial plaza in South America. Naturally, I wanted to photograph it with the drone.
There's always life around the plaza. Though I wasn't much into my photography mode, Villa De Leyva kinda beckons you to capture it.
One evening on the way to my guesthouse I saw a horse and this horse looked as if it was lit. The effect was created due to the interaction of the street light and a tree in front of it. I couldn't resist a few frames.
A quick snap on the street of the colourful village of Raquira, very close to Villa De Leyva.
Villa De Leyva belongs to the region of Boyacá. I decided to explore this area further. My next stop – Laguna de Tota. At a bit over 3,000 meters, this beach you see is considered to be the highest white-sand beach in the world. Not sure who keeps track of such things. All I can say is that the water was ridiculously cold!
My next stop was Monguí, another heritage village. I really fell in love with this place... ok more with the people I had the luck of encountering. I decided to make a couple of projects on them. More on that in the next post.
The photo you see is of the plaza in Monguí. Plazas are pretty common in colonial towns around Colombia. Monguí is small, but.... well... beautiful. And all around it is beautiful too.
Monguí is definitely off the mass-tourism track. That's part of its' appeal. Around it are a couple of villages which are even more off of-the-beaten track.
In the mountains above Monguí is Mongua. I visited it one day and learned that soon there would be a little festival taking place there.
The festival wasn't terribly exciting, but there were some moments photographically. I chatted to this young man and later took his portrait just before a horse parade.
Horses are a big part of people's lives here. Everyone can ride a horse – the young and the old. Even if people don't use them for work, it's part of the culture.
The horse parade went on for a few kilometers, from below the village towards its' center - the plaza.
People wear hats in rural Boyacá. A friend told me that the first thing some campesínos do after getting out of bed is - put on their hat. Wherever you look there's at least someone with a cowboy hat – man or woman. I ended up getting a hat too, much nicer looking than the ones you see. I got it to fit in a bit more visually, I suppose. Not sure if that worked, but people did appreciate that I was into their type of fashion.
The festival meant that there were cultural events, namely traditional dances. Colombia, to me is one of the world's capitals of dance. Even in remote places, deep in the mountains there's usually some amazing dance that you may have never seen, but that blows you away.
The next day was animal market day. Every Sunday morning the people of Monguí and the surrounding settlements gather to sell and buy cows, sheep, goats, horses. These markets are fascinating. I wanted to photograph them in more depth and I'll touch more on that in the next post.
La Laguna Negra is a few kilometers from Monguí. It's 3,500 metres above sea level, I didn't even try swimming in it.
I'll be posting more about Colombia soon. For now, this is a little window into where I've been.
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