Thursday, May 19, 2011

Adios Colombia, Hola Ecuador, plus boarder had some interesting sites on both sides

Hate to say but goodbye to Colombia but we have to move on, or our trip down south might never end. I know alot of people think Colombia is dangerous including us but after spending a month and a half and only scratching the surface, we absolutely loved it and would recommend anyone to experience the beautiful country but more important the people.

sad some of the plaques were stolen or missing

these figures were at the base of the cathedral, maybe some natives despised the church
We spent our last night in Colombia sleeping in the van at a secure parking lot in Ipiales, the last town before the Ecuador boarder. We arrived late to Ipiales and didn't really see the need for a hotel because we wanted to get a early start at the boarder. 6am we woke up and headed for the gothic cathedral of Las Lajas about 10 minutes east of town. When we arrived the town was still asleep but the parking attendant was wide a wake to collected our $1 for parking. We walked though the town and the men of the town were getting ready for work and shops started to open their doors. To get to the Cathedral are steep stairs that are lined with wall plaques remembering the dead. Midway down we get our first glimpse of the church that could have been in the Lord of the Rings movie. Its impressive size, location that is built into steep hillside and a tall bridge leads to its front doors over a river. It also had amazing back drops of a waterfall to one side with a rushing river and green hillsides on the other. Its an amazing peaceful place to worship or just to relax. Also at the bottom of the church they have this interesting museum that chronicles the cathedrals changes and ministries.     
 After an hour at the church we drove about 30 minutes to the boarder of Ecuador expecting another inefficient Latin customs but we were wrong. Leaving Colombia only 2 steps, exit stamp and cancel the car permit and the buildings were beside each other. Ecuador side was just as easy the hole process took about 30 minutes because of the line waits.

Now were in Ecuador, we drove about 30 minutes to the town of Tulcan, because Ji, wanted to visit a cemetery. I know sounds strange because we not visiting anyone but I arrived at the gate I understand why she wanted to come here. Its a huge cemetery with nice graves but what caught my interest was the grooming of the bushes into arch walls and figures. Glad we made this stop now on our way to Otavalo for the great Saturday market.

traditional graves but in the background the apartment style
these graves looked more prominent

more graves