We’ve spent the past few days mostly relaxing and getting some essentials like laundry done. The quiet and comfortable hostel that we’ve been camping at allows us to use all the amenities while still sleeping in our van, which is very economical.
I have to say that this trip so far has taught me a thing or two about hostels and how they get pigeonholed as dirty, bed bug ridden, stinky backpacker capsules. Our experience thus far has given us a glimpse of the hostel as a clean, inexpensive, laid back place with communal areas to share information with other travelers. The kids love them because most have games, tv rooms, and large outdoor areas for playing.
Over the past few days, we’ve enjoyed some simplicities that back home we take for granted. Darin gave Simon a haircut this morning, now Simon looks even more like Darin as a kid. We’ve done a lot of cooking with the use of the full sized refrigerator and cooking appliances available to us. At the hostel in San Gil, I watched a guy make the most amazing looking thai coconut lemongrass chicken soup, I couldn’t get it off my mind. I replicated it two nights ago and we all had several helpings.
Last night, we made a chorizo, mushroom, spinach lasagna in this wood burning that we’re envious of (I think Darin should build me one).
We took a bus 45 minutes out of town to the colorful artisan town of Raquira. The boys each got a traditional poncho, which are surprisingly versatile.
Marco face timed his class, which for him, took a lot of courage. He said all of about 9 words, six of which included “hi”. I’m thankful for his teacher, who seems to understand him quite well. It was precious.
We’ve enjoyed some excellent restaurant food in Villa de Leyva as well. Last night we had some Mexican food that could go up against anything in the Yucatan peninsula. My mind has swapped the thai soup obsession with the salsa verde that came over my enchiladas. Darin had five small pork tacos that were indescribable and probably impossible to replicate.
For lunch today, we went to Arte Gourmet for burgers, which are a novelty here. I had the most amazing veggie burger, which was covered in oyster sauce sautéed bean sprouts, fresh tomatoes and lettuce. The bread was probably made that morning and now, I can’t get it off my mind either. Simon said his chicken burger was “no offense daddy, the best burger I’ve had in my life”.
Today, we traveled about 6 km out of town to “El Fosil”. It was definitely a trip for the kids but Darin and I found ourselves with curiosities peaked. A very understated entrance fee and step through a rotating gate led us to an intact, 7 meter water dinosaur, a Kronosaur that dates back 120 million years when this valley was under water. Marco kept saying that it was a fake painted decoy…
On the way back into town, we hitched a ride on a microbus, which is a typical way to secure a ride here in colombia.
We’ve been here for 5 days and we haven’t used our van at all. This town is lovely to walk through, we’ve done miles of walking everyday. Darin and I still maintain that our morning runs allow us a glimpse of new towns and cities like no other. It gives us time alone, with the newness of the day, while the roosters are still giving a shout out to the rising sun.
At 3:30 this morning, we were shockingly awakened by the loud thump of Marco falling out of bed head first. We found ourselves doing a full neurological assessment to make sure we could move him, it was another night spent with hearts racing. Thankfully, with the help of a chiropractic adjustment, he’s completely fine this morning. That kid is one tough cookie.
Once Darin gathers what he needs to build an upper bed gate, we’ll be leaving Villa de Leyva today, with some rock climbing, hot spring dipping, and city bustling ahead of us. We’re learning to take things as they come and go with the flow more than we ever have. We thought that by now, we’d be in Ecuador but Colombia has so much to offer. We’ll eventually make it across the border.