View of the valley and the village of Villa de Leyva, from the house of my friends Julia&Daniel in Boyacá, Colombia in the Andes. It takes around 3 hours to drive here even though it´s just 130 km northeast of Bogotá, but the roads are small and you need to climb up to 2149 meters on alpine roads to describe it in a European type of lingo.
We start the day with a great tasting brunch buffet at Hospederia Duruelo. All meals will contain some kind of arepa in this part of the world. We will talk more about that in a later post. Corn Arepas are Colombia if you know what I mean.
I just love this flower arrangement in the stone fountain.
Yadira called Yaya is the reason why we are all here in Villa de Leyva. Yadira is Julia´s mother and used to live here in the summers with her mother Julita. So I want to thank you Yadira for making a point out of coming back and showing us all what an amazing place on earth Villa de Leyva is.
Gracias Yaya ( Jag heter Yaya – ja, det där var så internt att det förstår bara ca. 8 pers…)
The breakfast club ready to take on the beauty and the historic village in the Andes : Villa de Leyva
Surrounding Villa de Leyva are the green and gorgeous Andes.
Daniel having a peek through a locked door. All buildings are so well kept, preserved and beautiful.
The village of Villa de Leyva is built on a former lake. When digging for building the houses fossils where found. We are talking about a village that was founded in 1572 so it´s not recent these buildings came up. The fossils are incorporated in the base of the buildings in several places.
Villa de Leyva becoming one of Colombia´s principle tourist attractions and I understand why. Already 1954 it was declared a National Monument. Here colonial architecture is preserved and the cobblestone plaza looks the same way as it did when it was planned over 400 years ago. If you are a paleontologist you know about Villa de Leyva and the Paja Formation (Cretaceous era) For you who have no idea what a paleontologist does you might remember Ross in Friends. He worked as Paleontologist.
My grandmother Anna would have loved this balcony filled with geranium/pelargon.
There are the most amazing backyards and gardens all over town. You just have to look where you can walk in and see it. Some are private but many are open and used as public spaces, restaurant or hotel.
Have you tried a Zapote?
The tomatos below I think you have seen before, but Pepino de guiso a sort of cucumber above is not something you find everywhere.
As you can see I adore fresh fruit and vegetables. The Villa de Leyva market once a week offers all you can ever want and more. We are tasting and choosing what to get and planning dinner as we walk the market place in awe of all the green produce offered here.
Do you know all the fruits you see here ? I sure don´t…
The mule standing by looking at me as I take the photo. Hi cutie!
Never ever have I seen so many hammocks/hängmattor being part of everyday life for real in homes all over as here in Colombia. Not only here in Villa de Leyva.
Love this green door and my new hat! Thanks for the photo Maria,
Part of the film Cobra Verde by Werner Herzog was filmed here in Villa de Leyva.
Florentino Ariza, the main character of Gabriel García Márquez´s novel Love in the time of Cholera spends part of his life in Villa de Leyva. As you might know, Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature in 1982.
Many weddings take place in Villa de Leyva and I understand why. This city or village have an abundance of romantic feeling that is undeniable.
I will not guide you any more. If you are interested you will google Villa de Leyva or Colombia to find out more. I can tell you that I would really like to come back. This is a feel good place.
Thank you Villa de Leyva, Colombia
Stay in touch
Have not had one thought of decorating the tree until today and just remebered these fun & well made X mas ornaments I really liked but looked at this fall. Now is the time for X mas deco. This is not an ad. Just me liking what I found. Just so that you know….
Found more fun X mas deco here in one place than I ever have anywhere.
Fun&different and still nice looking. Not all crazy weird.
Have a happy fishmas!
Love this little red bag!
Back in the Swedish capitol after a warm&wonderful week in Cartagena in the Caribbean, I could really feel the November cold getting to me.
In the streets of Stockholm as well as in Berlin, NYC and London I find these innocent&beautiful animal faces, many times ripped halfway like this. Have you seen them ?
My work monday was intense in the Studio, just getting back the the normal rhythm.Tuesday evening after another day of of getting back to my creative normality and typical November work mode was interrupted in the best way possible by an unexpected injection of theatrical outburst.
My friend the Architect Daniel Nyström who I just visited in Villa De Leyva, Colombia is back in Stockholm as well and asked me to come along to Sickla in the Nacka area of Stockholm. We arrive in the dark just after 10 PM/22.00 to the glass building adress and walk up the stairs. After a check on the list over invites from the person in charge our company of four is let in.
Daniel, Emma Blanche and Fredrik Färg and I have a drink in the bar passing a massive floor covered in a orange textile. High ceiling and glass on both sides letting in the street lights into the dark atmosphere inside accompanied ominously sound wise building in intensity.
More people arrive having drinks and talking adding to the ominous acoustic image intensifying as well. Just after 11 pm the light and sound change and Cirkus Cirkör take over the orange textile covered floor and start their pop up performance. This type of unexpected outburst of pure creativity gives me so much. Loved it!
Invited for lunch with a purpose to what is called : Tomorrow´s Table at the booze museum. No I´m not drunk (not right now anyway…!) There is a alcohol, spirits or booze museum, if you like, in Stockholm called Spritmuseum.
Highlighting the increasing food&beverage tourism Tomorrow´s Table invited to talks with Staffo Törnqist as MC interviewing Anna Malmhake, CEO of The Absolute Company, Hans De Geer Professor&authour of the book Vin&Sprit (Wine&Spirits) – från politik till marknad – giving us somewhat of an explanation to our strange alcohol history of Sweden, Anna Anerfält-Johansson representing her Norrtelje Brenneri, one of the 555 new producers of alcoholic beverages in Sweden. Internationally celebrated chef Tommy Myllymäki, serving us interesting trending info of tomorrows food&drink tourism explaining that he foresees more personal identification with the restaurant of choice and a more fine tuned consumer, eating less and thinking more of the quality, production and from where the produce is found for the meal. Therefore also looking to enjoy the local specialities requiring a more differentiated meny all over the globe.
Sounds really good to me. Hoping what he says will rub off on Sweden over all and that we can find more of our own food culture along with all of the world represented as well. Erik Wolf joins in via a Skype link and and at last Michael Persson Gripkov, Chief Brand and Communications officer at Visit Sweden talking about the addition of not only food as being the interest of the food tourist but drink as well and the importance of combining the two, which makes perfect sense right (!)
Since we had a monopoly previously in Sweden, the need to inform about our new open policy on alcohol production but not on selling, which still is only handled by Systembolaget our upside down politics not allowing any sales of alcohol to the beverage tourist visiting The Absolute Company in Åhus still, leads us to understand that we still have some time before we will have a complete food&beverage tourism…
The very charming Mr Törnquist takes over most of the interviews being the TV personality as well as a self professed gourmand. If we next time have more talk of the future, this being Tomorrows Table and less talk of the Historic table and Mr Törnquist then it will fulfill the premise of the title of the event fully.
Tasting my way around the Spritmuseum finding the chocolate art of award winning pastry and desert chef Malin Haak. Hoping Malin will get more mentioning on this website that is her husbands now that she is a winner as well.
OMG! These chocolate, browned butter & hazelnut dreams in front are TO LIVE FOR (photo above) The lighter brown pastry in the background was as light as a cloud, containing sea buckthorn/havtorn and rose hip among other exciting ingredients. Want to taste more of Miss Haak´s own specialties that´s for sure.
Tasting something I never tried or heard of before. Hopple is hop/humle and apple/äpple combined in a beverage. Really like it! Hoping to see this new drink and company real soon.
Bubbly anyone? Cool and mysterious deco for Tomorrows table at the Spirits Museum/ Spritmuseum.
Brännlandcider utilize the cold weather that comes with the norhern Swedish territory in their apple production of ice cider. I really recommend trying this tasty apple drink. Like the look of lable and bottle as well. Congrats I must say!
Since my Designbloggarna colleague Stina Lodén posted her views on the Finlayson textile version of Tom of Finland which I did not agree on I find myself showing my Israeli friend Maor Gil´s photo´s taken by Tom Zvily in my quest to exhibit more of the male sensualism as I see it and what I think is not shown in the way I like. Often when the heteronormativ society looks at the gay world it get´s misunderstood in my opinion. The added graphics Crazy Sexy Cool (below) which is just what Mr Gil exudes made me think of the TLC album with the same name. Here is the song Red Light Special from that album :
The walks I take almost everyday gives me this amazing view over City Hall seen from the south of Södermalm.
A lovely sunny November week in Stockholm that I enjoyed comes to a friday end with me going to the first hearing of a lawyer firm. I have never been to such a meeting and do not know what to expect. At 2 pm/14.00 on friday I meet with Setterwalls , l law firm investigating the work situation of the TV4 production Äntligen Hemma that I worked with for 10 seasons, 5 years and that came to an end 2011 in a way I never expected. I wrote about the sexist work environment on my blog then ( dec 2011) but only the newspapers seemed to care or find some explosive material in writing about it.
It took many years and more accusations being made against one man until a way of handling this rotten work situation and the mistreatment, injustice and sexism was stopped. After one hour and lots of backtracking of bad memories I was done with my first hearing of a law firm ever. A new experience of something I hope I will never have to do again.
I ended my friday with a birthday bowling bash for my favorite protégé. Being a god father of Arvid 11 years old, son of my dear long time friends Lars&Linda we celebrated Arvid the way he wished for, ending with dinner and desert at home in Täby. How happy I am to be able to celebrate with my close friends and family.
We are in Ráquira, that is a city centered around the artisanal production of ceramics 40 minutes car ride from Villa de Leyva in the Andes, Colombia. Villa De Leyva is where I am staying with my friends Daniel&Julia, that have been here before. For my travel companion Maria and me this is the first time.
We are here to see ceramic work and ceramists that work in the area. In Ráquira there is a concentration of clay good for ceramic work and as you can see in the square, ceramics is a big part of this colorful small city or village if you will.
At the bottom of the post you will see a video of a staty doing something I never have seen a statue of a grown man do….
Apart from pots and vessels of all kinds, most of them not colored or glazed to perfection like these bright&colorfull skulls that really stick out but also seem to be a popular expression in this multicolored town, you find every type of normal shape of ceramics. Dia de los Muertos/Alla Helgona was just around the corner so maybe that is way these skulls are featured at the moment.
I´m always on the lookout for new ways of creating and design from a platform of for me a new way of working. For work and my own education and inspiration I love to study different cultures artisanal/hantverksmässiga expression. From the knowledge handed down for generations there is so much to learn. These clay pigs make me think of the pig style money boxes I had in my room as a kid.
Really like this dark brown/black ceramic series that is a type that has made it as export to Europe already and in Sweden are sold via Karott
Taking a walk through the village of many hues. Everything is so colorful! Also meeting lots of lovey furry friends.
I mean….How elegant can you sit? Ruben you are soooooo gorgeous. So happy to meet you!
I love taking my own little exploring walks while my friends are getting all wrapped up in the pottery biz. I find this amazing little creek with a tree filled with Tillandsia/Spansk mossa/Spanish moss
There is something so special and magic about these long hanging cob webish kind of plants. Just love it!
Our lovely looking stylish ladies posed for me on the bridge in Ráquira. Gracias Julia&Maria!
We drive further up in the mountain just outside of Ráquira and arrive at Rosa-Maria who Julia knows from before who is a well known Colombian ceramist that works from her house just like her mother who did just the same before her.
Rosa – Maria who is in the middle of work, asks us in for coffey and we ask to see her new and old work. In her hand are older work done by her mother who’s legacy she has taken over and now creates her own work.
This is the oven where the magic happens. She also has a totally new electrical one and actually use both.
This is inside the house and studio where she works. The figurines you see to the left in the picture are one type of artwork she creates and sells.
Just recently when The Pope was visiting in Bogotá one of her ceramic art Virgin Mary figurines were given by the Colombian Presidential couple Juan Manuel Santos who won the Nobel Peace Price and his wife Maria Clemencia Rodríguez Múnera, to the Pope as an official gift (!)
The walls of the house are decorated with Rosa-Marias clay.
The church is old work of Rosa-Maria´s mother Otilia that Julia is showing us.
We thank Rosa-Maria for the coffey and for being able to see her work up close. My travel companion Maria buys a ceramic piece that she fell for and we start getting back to the car. It was sure a treat to see the life and work of such an esteemed Colombian artist. Thank you very much!
My head is full of todays impressions. I can not forget what I saw in the restaurant though earlier for lunch in Ráquira ( dit not dare to tell you before…) …look at this video…
Since Brussels have their Manneken Pis I guess this is the Ráquiran Piss…or ? Just could not stop staring at this almost full length ceramic pissing man.
Colombia sure is full of surprises.
Stay in touch 🙂
Finally I have made it to my friends Daniel&Julia in Villa De Leyva 2149 meters over the sea in the Andes, Colombia. Daniel picked me up at the airport in Bogotá and we drove here in about 3 hours. Julia who is from Colombia originally has been living in Sweden since she was a teenager and met Daniel 16 year ago and they have lived together in Stockholm raising their daughter Xué. They have made the move to Colombia to oversee the construction of their new home here in the mountains and to kickstart their all new Colombian life.
The balcony is in the guest room upstairs in the first house.
This is Coco, one of the four dogs that share the life of the family and guards the property. Coco really became a good friend of mine.
Daniel (in the picture) is the architect of both this house and the new one you soon will see as well. This house where Yaya, Julias mother live has a very large open plan living room/kitchen with high ceiling and three bedroom spaces whereof two of them are entresol type and one is a closed space on the bottom floor.
Xué in a playful mode. While they were building their new place they have all stayed in this house. But now the time has come to move into their own home here in the Andes, right next to Grandmother Yaya.
Xué and her friend playing in the living room. The huge open fireplace was used many of the nights I was there. When the sun sets around 7 pm/19.00 it gets really dark. On clear nights the stars seems to be reachable. Remember we are over 2000 m up (!)
Really like this photo I took of the wall and the ceiling. The ceiling pendant lamp is Daniel´s design and constructed out of metal wire and a thick local handmade yarn.
Time for breakfast. Locally handmade tiles were used for the the bottom floor. The stairs are concrete with hardwood borders.
Cooking tacos the mexican way outdoors. The plywood board is to keep the wind out of the cooking place. Julias brother Giovanni is married to Marta who is Mexican and is in charge of dinner today that is held outdoors. The temperature is constantly around 20 degrees celcius. Year round.
Right next to the outdoor table is the stunning natural pool. It functions just about the same way as a normal lake but is manmade (Google natural pools and you will find a lot of answers of how to build one) It serves both as a water reservoir and as a swimmingpool. I took this photo a morning when the clouds were laid around like cotton but not covering the Andes completely. Makes you feel like you are flying… Stunning!
Here is the front of the new house and off course some banana trees. The grow all over.
As you can see its all glass and overlooks the valley of the village of Villa De Leyva and the Andes off course. We had been washing so thats why there is so much clothes hanging in front of the house. Kind of like that.
This is the view from inside the windows in the studio/livingroom of the house.
You first come into the hallway that leads to a staircase and into the kitchen. All with cement flooring.
A Chemistry vase large from Jimsch on the table designed by Daniel.
D&J decided to ship furniture they love and alread had, in a container from Sthlm-Cartagena and then a truck took it to their new house. In the end it would probably cost the same as buying new one ones. But then that big thing ‘to do! was out out the way. Starting a whole new life in a new country means making a lot choices.
The black kithencabinet/worktop goes all the way from the kitchen out to the Studio/livingroom. The open fireplace is the main struchture of the building. To the right downstairs in the back you see the on purpose rusted entrance door ajar.
The ceiling in the studio is high and and the feeling created with the moulded cement and glass is one that I really like.
Love the downstairs big bathroom that has an enormous copper shower head and will get a bathtub with a skylight in the near future in the space not visible in this shot in the area from where the light comes.
The staircase next to the bathroom take you to the bedroom quarters. 1 big and two smaller bedrooms and a bathroom is up here. A ladder leads to Julias workspace that is above the two smaller bedrooms. The textile art on the wall is part of Daniels production.
The master bedroom has a smart storage as part of the back wall as well as very cool suede pillows and bedspread from Jimmy Schönning Hem (!)
While I was there (yes those are my feet) the ceiling of the downstairs bathroom was getting ready which doubles as the floor of what will be the terrace of the smaller bedrooms. Which one of them were where I was staying ( was that to complicated ? ) Nah… Love the for me new use of concrete glass as flooring!
The Andes that you will see more of if you stay in touch. I am traveling in the Andes in the coming post here on the blog.
It was lovely to take a morning dip here in the natural pool. The view of the amazing Andes is ever-changing. Never the same.
Even the fish love love it here. When Julia&Daniel are done with the house it will be possible to rent as a studio for projects or to enjoy the area. I will surely come back. This is a place to love.
Stay in touch and see the quaint and cute, old village of Villa De Leyva in my coming post.