Villa de Leyva is by far one of the most sought-after destinations for long-weekend getaways, given the easy three-hour drive north from the capital. During Holy Week with regular afternoon rain showers in Bogotá many capitalinos pack the car to make the annual pilgrimage to the dust bowl that is the La Candelaria desert and the paleontological trove surrounding the colonial town.

Besides offering visitors the possibility to enjoy leisurely walks within the cobbled old town, and up to the lagoon of Iguaque, once sacred waters for the Muisca indigenous peoples, there are very religious overtones this Holy Week in Villa de Leyva as the town will host the VI Encounter of Ancient Music.

Started five years ago as a venue to present groups dedicated to the genre of ancient music, the Encuentro de Música Antigua is a cultural project supported by the foundation Amigos del Silencio. This year, starting Wednesday April 16th and running until Saturday 19th, six concerts will be held in the acoustically-rich Convent of San Agustín.

The ‘VI Encounter’ is dedicated to the evolution of music from the court of Charles V (b.1500 – 1558) Holy Roman emperor and King of Spain, until the arrival of Barroque music in the Americas. Germany is the appointed guest country this year.

Among the groups invited to this gathering are: Friburger Barock Consort (Germany), Ensemble Jacques Moderne (France) and La Ritirata (Spain). Colombia will be represented by the ensembles Extempore, Scordatura and harpsicordist Eleonora Rueda. For more information on the concert times and ticket prices visit:

www.musicaantiguavilladeleyva.org

From the sounds of “silence” to tires hitting track,  a few weeks after the sacred Semana Santa – Holy Wee – events in Villa de Leyva, the town becomes part of Andes Epic’s mountain biking race. As the only cycling and running event in the country given the seal of Brand Colombia, Andes Epic 2014’s logo is “In search of Dorado” and starts May 3rd providing “extreme” athletes with two full day options for putting endurance to the test. The competition is open to men and women and falls under the Marathon MX category authorized by the CCCM, the Colombian Mountain Bike Federation.

The AE14 race will pass through the Cundinamarca and Boyacá highlands offering the inhabitants of Cucunubá, Lenguazaque, Guachetá, Sáchica and Villa de Leyva the opportunity to see the best-trained cyclists covering 120 kms in a day with 3,000 meter elevations. There is also an amateur category of 25 kms in a day with 1,000 meter elevations. So if you feel like an ‘Elite’ racer but want to go as a ‘Grand Master’ through the rugged hills of Boyacá you can still sign up for the unique racing event by visiting the Andes Epic website:

www.andesepic.com