First night in Columbia
Trip Start Sep 23, 2010
366Trip End Jul 13, 2012
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Where I stayed
Then we loaded up and walked across the bridge into Colombia and had our passports stamped in. We were hassled all the way by taxi's and money changers and we got $60 changed to what we believed to be 111,600 Colombian Pesos. More on that later. We then caught a taxi to the bus station and found a secure place to store our big bags. Bags stored, we caught another taxi to Las Lajas which has the Sanctuary of the Virgin, a massive church built in between the rocks of a gorge. The place is amazing and has waterfalls all over the place and a river flowing at the bottom. After a bit of refreshment we caught a taxi back to the bus station for some lunch and to catch a bus to Pasto. The journey was only one and a half hours long and the scenery was breath taking but it was a real roller coaster ride! Once we had arrived we caught a taxi to a hostel in the book but as it wasn't up to much we found the local tourist office and they kindly phoned around for us. A young man from the tourist office walked us to the hotel and we ummed and uhrred whether to stay or not as the ensuite toilet didn't have a seat! It seems that most places are like this around here, so as it was only for one night we made do. We did change rooms though as the wi-fi didn't reach ours. It was while we had a few hours catching up on a few things and working out what we'd spent today that we discovered that we were 10,000 pesos short! We asked Glyn and Sam if they knew what they'd spent and if theirs matched, and they discovered that they were short the same amount! We all racked our brains trying to think if we'd missed any thing and came to the conclusion that the money changer must have short changed us! Not much we could do about it now, so we chalked it up to experience and went out to find something for dinner. It was raining hard but we found a nice restaurant down the soaking wet street and had a mixed grill which had some nice cuts of meat as well as pieces of intestines, as you can guess we left those bits! On the way back Glyn and Sam went for a drink and we went back to our room to make use of the facilities.
Got up at 8.15am and tried the shower which went from luke warm to cold in a matter of minutes. At 9 we walked down the street to a panaderia (that also has a restaurant) for breakfast. After some fairly stindgy portions we headed off to find the collectivos that would drive us to the Lago La Cocha. It was a bit of a walk which took us half an hour but we were soon driving along some very twisty mountain roads. On the way we had to stop at a police control point and had to show our ID, he then asked (in Spanish of course) if we were going to the Lago and on reply to yes he said ok off you go. Half way up the mountain the road changed from sealed tarmac to gravel until we got nearer to the village. Half way down the other side we stopped at a view point where we had a fantastic view of the lake. Once at the lake port, Cat negotiated the cost of a launch down a few thousand and headed to the island in the middle. On the island we paid our entrance fee (1,000 pesos) and then walked through the centre of the cloud forest. It's not a very big island and we were done in just over half an hour and were soon heading back to the mainland. As it was lunch time we went into one of the many restaurants and all had some fresh, from the lake, trout which was very nice (but not as nice as the one I had in Otavalo). After lunch we wandered around, looking at all the wooden buildings and then walked to the main village a 20min-half hour walk away. Glyn joked with one of the motorbike taxis to take us back the 27kms to Pasto but we caught a collectivo for a slightly cheaper price than the one to get there. Once back in Pasto we walked back into the center and had a look round the main square at all the lovely looking churches and buildings dotted around. We bought some water at the supermarket on the way back and had a rest in our room for an hour or two. After successfully conquering the shower we met up with Glyn and Sam and had tea and cake in the panaderia down the road. We then bought some snacks on the way back and then settled in for the night.
Got up at 7.30am for an early breakfast and then checked out around 9 and caught a taxi to the bus station. No sooner had we arrived at the bus station we were pounced on by bus touts and were on a bus by 9.30.