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Each journey begins with a single step... Two kiwis escaping from the island to explore strange new worlds and boldly go where thousands have gone before... . .

Exit Colombia - Enter Ecuador

COLOMBIA | Sunday, 7 June 2009 | Views [912]

5/6 In Pasto we stayed in a hotel close to the bus station (Hotel Villara) 10,000 for a double room with baño and cable tv and a big window opening onto a fairly quiet street. The first day we just laxed out and watched tv and the next day went into town to explore. It was Saturday and amazingly the museums were not open, one we got to right when it closed at 11.30am... Nothing spectacular about the town, we walked the 2k back to the hotel and found an internet cafe to sort our pics from the road trip over that huge hill/mountain, we took heaps and heaps!

Sunday 6/6 - Got a minivan/taxi to Ipiales the next day 6,000ea, 2 1/2 hours over interesting terrain which would have seemed huge except for the journey before. The countryside continues to be very green, with lots of trees and patchwork farms spread over huge hills. In Ipiales we took a collectivo (2000p each, like a taxi but they wait until it's full to go) to Las Lajas where history has it a woman and child saw the virgin mary etched into a rock or something like that. Not one to miss an opportunity the catholic church raced in and built the Sanctuario de Las Lajas, an amazing neo-gothic church with attached bridge spanning a deep gorge and river.

Now remember we are here on a sunday! So the place was full of locals and pilgrims who come to take the holy water. We stored our packs with a shopkeeper for 1000p and headed down the hill to the sanctuary. It is quite a sight as the pics show. Carol ate an expensive meal of meat and potatoes there otherwise it was just a place to look around at. Inside, the church was built directly onto the rock at the end wall.

We returned to the bus station and caught another collectivo to the border (1600p ea). A bit of paperwork to fill in then a walk across a bridge into Ecuador and a stamp in the passports there, no fees, and we were done.

We caught a van to the bus station (Ecuador uses US$) .75c ea and from there a bus to Ibarra $2.50ea. The buses here are cheaper than Colombia and work out to about $1 per hour.

 

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