Home to Maggie Lard

Our first stop after Bogota was Villa de Leyva. It is a small colonial town, very charming. But it suffers from what all the cute small towns do - they are turned into living museums with not a single authentic bone left in their bodies. Unless you are after a new poncho or eating real Italian pasta, you will have seen all there is to see in one evening. It was nice to see that most of the tourists were actually Colombians - apparently this is a town where rich Bogotans go for their city breaks. Even though most buildings in the town center are turned into restaurants and hotels, you cannot deny its beauty.

One afternoon to see it all is surely enough to see it all. Surrounded by mountains, there was only one thing we could possibly do - plan a hike for the next morning.

What do you do when you have planned a hike and at the entrance you see written clearly (and not only in Spanish) that you should not enter because of fire hazards? You turn around and leave. But what if you really really really want to go? If you are dumb, you continue as if you saw nothing. Which is exactly what we did.

Nothing suspicious at the beginning, maybe except for our fitness and people passing by with donkeys straight from a cowboy movie.

But as we started our decend, the path was only getting less path-like. With every step we were less reliant on our eyes and more on our maps. But we were still enjoying the walk so we did not worry. Towards the end the mood shifted - we were walking on a slippery path, on rocks that were around 30m above a small stream. We were about to cross the stream where we saw this:

All my confidence was gone, Tadzik seemed calm but maybe he was just keeping his shit together so that I don't freak out completely. The path looked very narrow from where we were standing and wind blowing was quite strong. I could not think of anything other than "so this is how people die". Luckily once we crossed the stream towards the path, it turned out it was reasonably wide not to panic just yet. Last bit to overcome was something that in our maps was marked as steps, which is a disputable way of calling rocks that formed a very steep descend down.

In the end nothing bad happened, when we emerged out of the path on the other side, the surprised park rangers standing by the sign "do not enter" started saying in a very friendly way something that presumably meant "where the fuck are you coming from". We smiled politely and as we don't understand any Spanish, we walked off slowly hoping that they don't care enough to continue the conversation.

All in all it was worth it, though we need to learn that trails in Colombia are not exactly the same thing as those in Switzerland.