Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Farewell Colombia

We had made it over the mountain pass into a village but the remaining stretch of road to Pasto is not as easy as we expected. The surface is good but the weather is more of the same. Our gear is still wet from yesterday and its not getting a chance to dry. The road winds up again and it is not until we ride down towards the city of Pasto that the first rays of sunlight start to break through the clouds and warm our bodies. We get lost for a while in the city looking for food. Not able to find anything and annoyed with the lack of directions we ride out again and gun it for the border. After bouncing around all day yesterday, the perfect tarmac off the highway is true bliss. The sun puts a smile back on our faces. We ride into Ipiales with one more thing to se before we are ready to leave this amazing country. Santuario De Las Lajas.


The inspiration for the Basilicas creation was a miraculous event in 1754 when a woman and her deaf-mute daughter, Rosa were caught in a very strong storm. The two sought refuge between the gigantic rocks, when the daughter exclaimed "the Mestiza" is calling me" and pointed to a lightning illuminated silhouette over the rocks. This apparition of the Virgin Mary instigated popular pilgrimage to the site and occasional reports of cases of miraculous healing.



We wander around for a while and then ride back to town to find some oil for Azure's ever thirsty Transalp and place to sleep. We end up parking in between a Honda and a Yamaha store. I walk over to Honda hoping they will be pleased to see their brand making it around the world. No one even says hello and no one seems to want to help me. I turn around and see Azure surrounded by Yamaha people. I guess the power of dreams has lost its power and we decide to buy our 8 liters of oil from Yamaha. (5 for an oil change and 3 to keep the Transalp happy) "You are going to do an oil change"? "Why don't you let us do it for you". "We'll just suck it out with a machine so you don't have to get your hands dirty". Now that is service! The whole team stays late and makes sure the bikes are in top shape. We answer many travel related questions and we leave with directions for our last Colombian Love hotel. 

The awesome crew at Yamaha Ipiales
We are up early and ride for the border. Although gasoline is much cheaper on the Ecuadorian side we try to fill up since we have heard stories about foreigners not being able to buy gas close to the border. Every Gas station seems to be out or is not accepting payment by card. Since we have literally spend every Colombian Peso we had on the last bottle of water and the hotel this turns out to be a real problem. We don't want to draw more cash because of the ATM fees and we don't feel like going through the hassle of changing it at the border. After trying four stations we finally find one that accepts cards and actually has gas!

We ride to the border with mixed feelings in our tummies. The people of Colombia have made the last couple of months into the best traveling on this planet. Having traveled in 48 countries on 5 different continents that is quite impressive for a country that, by most people, is only known for drugs and guerrilla's. We want to thank everyone in Colombia for their hospitality and an unforgettable time!

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