Saturday, December 18, 2010

Cali and Ipiales, Colombia

After our trek and a few days of recovery and relaxation, we flew from Santa Marta to Cali, Colombia, in order to get closer to the Ecuador border before our visas ran out. We had an unexpected lay-over in Bogota, but were put up in a nice hotel for the night and fed a couple of free meals, so we didn´t mind much - plus it was our first encounter with hot water showers in a whole month! Cali was only a short stop for us, so we didn´t sight-see too much; however, we did make it to the zoo!

Lydia doing her best animal impression...

A lion doing a people impression...

We found some more butterflies, although they weren´t nearly as impressive as the ones we spotted on our hike (they were much slower, though, so we could capture them on film).

We got nose to nose with a cute ant-eater!

Two monkeys contemplating one-another.

The next day we left Cali and made a 13 hour bus ride over to Ipiales, where we would cross the border into Ecuador. As soon as we got off the bus, we both felt the cold and noticed we were a little short of breath. It turns out Ipiales is 2950m above sea level, so the effects of elevation were kicking in.

The town itself did not look like much, but we were told to visit the church a 35 minute drive out of town. We caught a cab driven by a speed-demon (wouldn´t have been one bit surprised if he had a NOS button on his steering wheel) who made the drive in approximately 7 minutes flat! Feeling a little nauseous, and slightly more spiritual, we wandered down the many steps to the Las Lajas Cathedral and were not disappointed!

First off, we were greeted by two of the cutest puppies in the entire world!

And then we were greeted by a view of one of the most beautiful churches in the world!
The cathedral was built in the bottom of a valley atop a river, and one wall consisted of the sheer rock face of the cliff it is carved into, seen below.

A breathtaking view of the Las Lajas Cathedral from across the way.
The view opposite the cathedral.

This must be a very holy dog, as he is the centre of this shrine.

The Las Lajas Cathedral is definitely a hidden gem in a very unexpected place! It was a nice send-off from Colombia, a country we have grown to love and miss!

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