Our current time zone: GMT +8 (We're home in Singapore!)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Where The Night Doesn't Bite

Villa de Leyva: one of the rare places where we ventured out after dark!

And I brought my DLSR out too. To capture the town's lovely golden glow against the pitch blackness of the remote hillsides.

An image of candles comes to mind. Soft, warm and glowing.

The inglesia. Lovely in the day. Heavenly in the night. Love the silhouettes of the bells in the tower.

It's a slow night for the Italian restaurant at the foot of the church.

Potential purchases beckon from behind the lighted windows. A hat or a scarf, or a pretty bauble maybe?

La Gastronomica - a large fancy courtyard which houses 9 shops and restaurants - all of them too pricey for our budget

Where's everybody on a weekday night? The fancy stuff is obviously not very popular with the locals

The locals were all queuing up outside the town bakery, Pan Tipica. The tiny shop couldn't hold all the eager customers - everybody spilled out onto the streets. We squeezed our way in to find out what all the fuss was about.

Pizza! Everybody was fighting over the last few quickly-diminishing pieces of gooey pizza. The thin-crust delicacy, baked from the scratch, filled up 2 big trays - one with chicken & mushroom, the other Hawaiian. The server sliced the piping hot contents of each tray into huge floppy triangles and deftly ploped the stringy thing onto thin pieces of cardboard. We didn't want to jostle with the crowd for the last few pieces and were instead content to wait 20 minutes for a fresh batch. In the meantime, we zoomed in on whatever buns and pastries emerged fresh from the oven - ham and cheese croissants, and chicken pies wrapped in the flakiest and most buttery pastry I've eaten on this trip; coconut and strawberry jam sugar donuts; cheese biscuits (all this is over 2 nights okay, not 1...)

(sorry, no pictures - our minds were too distracted, mouths were too busy and hands too sticky from all the eating.)

Edit: The wife was too busy eating, but I managed to stop stuffing my face long enough to take a shot!

The little bakery could only contain 3 tables and a few stools, which were always occupied by local families littering the table tops and floor with buttery flakes. We would try to eat while standing, struggling pathetically not to drop crumbs down our jackets. On both occasions, we were very touched when the locals quickly downed their last remaining mouthfuls of food and drops of soft drinks, and promptly gave up their seats for us. One man even cleared the table of his family's empty drink bottles and wiped it free of crumbs. Singaporeans could learn a thing or two from his small but gracious act.

Pan Tipica, despite it's name, is not your usual bakery. They were the busiest in the evening, churning out batch after batch of hot goodies, filling the night air with the aroma from their oven. Throughout the evening, people streamed in continuously and left with bags of 10 buns, 10 cheese biscuits, 3 helpings of chicken pies, etc. After a busy night, the bakery takes the morning off - and doesn't open till just before lunch (if it opens at all.)

On our last night in Villa de Leyva, we sampled everything displayed on the bakery's shelves and even went back for a second helping of their chicken pies. The lady at the counter, noticing our buffet spread (inevitably, since we left our seats 4 times to return to the counter for refills), asked us which pastry we liked best. We told her that we liked all of them!!

The last dining-in customer for the night, paying for our pastry-dinner. Stray dogs hang around after the last diner has left, cleaning the floor of crumbs.

And to wrap up the happening (only if you're at the bakery) night scene at Villa de Leyva, here's my favourite photo:

Saying Goodnight


Tracy Su said...

I love all the photos on these two posts! You're really keeping them coming thick and fast, and a new blog too. Waaaah...I thought you were on holiday? Hehehe

Stephanie said...

lovely pictures! ooo..i must make sure i had some food before i read your blog.LOL........

Yi Lin said...

Hi Trace - yeah, the photos look nice cos I felt that it was safe enough to use my DSLR with wide-angle lens. That's why it's such a pity when the beauty of a place can be better captured using a better camera, but it's made impossible by rogue locals put the safety of tourists at risk. Sigh.

Steph - Thanks! Heh, at least you can find food in Spore that is similar to the pictures that we post. Colombian set lunches are akin to those economical rice sets back home. Now, when my friends post pictures of food in Spore on their blogs (like Hokkien Mee!!!), we can't do anything to satisfy our craving! Can only drool over the keyboard!

Yi Lin said...

Oh, Trace - yeah, you've been to the new website? Chip in where you can too - I don't know anything about bus fares in England. Or does everybody there drive?

In addition to this, I'm thinking of doing some freelance writing. It seems that we are accumulating all this information from our travels and it's such a waste not to share them on a more useful platform than just our personal blog. But yeah, we are suppose to be taking a break from WORK...

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