A Weekend Trip to Villa de Leyva
As of this morning, at 9 AM, I have already enjoyed a three-hour coach journey along the ridge of the Andes, as well as an hour on the Transmilenio, Bogotá’s one and only public transport option aside from buses. The reason for the 3:30 AM start, is because I spent the week in Villa de Leyva, a small, colonial town in the department of Boyaca.
Home to the largest square in Colombia, and potentially, the largest cobbled square in South America, Villa de Leyva is the tranquil, weekend escape for many who work in Bogotá
At Warwick, everyone receives a personal tutor, someone, usually, from your home department, who you meet with once a term (or more often if you need help) who is in charge of your wellbeing and academic progress. Luckily for me, my personal tutor is a Colombian native, who, whilst spending her summer visiting relatives, invited all Warwick students who are in Bogotá to spend the weekend with her.
Breakfast with a view!
Whilst superficially, Villa de Leyva seems like a simple, quiet colonial town, with many boutique shops and independent restaurants, our holiday, from start to end, was spent exploring the landscape and historic sites that surround the pueblo.
to Muisca ruins… (named the Infiernito by the Spanish, meaning the Little Hell, these ruins form an important astronomy observatory for the Muisca, the indigenous group living in Villa de Leyva during the Spanish conquest of Colombia)
to waterfall chasing… (La Periquera, not as big as my previous waterfall hike, and not needing as much effort to reach, but as equally wonderful. Spending a Sunday morning next to them was really special, especially as about three hours after, a monster thunderstorm struck the town, something we managed to hide from indoors at home)
…we packed so much into two days, that it was pretty difficult to face the 4 AM bus back to Bogotá this morning. That, and of course, it was tough to swallow the fact that leaving Villa de Leyva meant a return to the pollution and deadlines that Colombia’s capital city has come to mean for me.
However, this visit has been a good reminder for me about the support available from Warwick to you on your Year Abroad: just because technically you are studying somewhere else, Warwick still asks to hear from you regularly, and you are still entitled to all the mental health services and personal tutor assistance that you need to ensure you have a happy, and healthy stay away from home. I’m not saying that you will have to rely on these services during university, as everyone has different coping strategies and support networks, however, if you ever feel a bit isolated or anxious, whether at university, or abroad, it’s quite comforting to know that there are people ready and able to help you.
Not that Bogotá doesn’t have spectacular views, but it was pretty difficult to tear myself away from here
However, my return to the capital after Villa de Leyva is not entirely a journey of despair, as I only have five days here until I leave once again, this time, on an aeroplane and to the beach…