Con Mucho Gusto...Colombia!
Trip Start Nov 15, 2006
117Trip End Ongoing
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The border crossing is low hassle - we don't even have to fill in any paperwork. We take a public bus to Ipiales, a small town and interim step towards the colonial town of Popayán. A quick side-trip to Las Lajas, location of a Sanctuario Católico where apparently someone once saw the Virgin Mary. It is a place of natural beauty with a river running through a narrow gorge, crossed by a vaulted stone bridge on which is built a gothic-style cathedral. The paved path that climbs down to the cathedral along the side of the gorge is lined with plaque-covered walls that speak of personal prayers answered and miracles of healing. There are thousands of them.
The bus trip north to Popayán is moderately terrorising
In Popayán a short walk off the main drag takes us to a great hotel with less than half the pricetag of the other cheap hotels. We also dine at a noteworthy out-of-the-way gourmet pizza café that makes its own semi-dried tomatoes.
Both places listed here for fellow travellers:
Hotel Ciudad Blanca, Cra. 11, No 6-51 Conmutador, Popayán, ph: 8214047
La Pizzarra, Cra. 13, No 6-17 B Valencia
Our first impression of Colombia is that it is noticeably more friendly than Ecuador. There is a warmth to the people that makes you feel very welcome. Popayán is a pleasant colonial city, agreeable climate, with virtually no tourists and feels safe. Definitely a good launch-pad to explore the surrounding region.