My helmet, gloves, and riding gear were still cold and wet from the rain the day before but I still managed to ride about an hour south of Pasto, Colombia to the Border town of Ipiales, on the Colombian side. The day started out with some light rain.
When I arrived in Ipiales I heard of a cathedral that was build in 1916 over a river in a canyon. The Cathedral de Las Lajas looked like a castle. It was difficult to take a good photo of the place. It is one of those places that must be seen to really be appreciated.
After the side trip to see the cathedral it was time to face the reality of crossing the border. The Colombian side was easy compared to the many other border crossings I had made thus far. On the Ecuadorian side it was not difficult – just time-consuming. There were about 100 people trying to cross along with me. It took us about four hours of standing in line waiting to get our passports stamped. Once inside the office it only took about ten minutes. I believe the reason for the long lines was due to the political/diplomatic unrest between Colombian and Ecuadorian governments.
A few months prior, the Colombian military crossed into Ecuador to capture/kill some of the FARC leadership. FARC is a Colombian Rebel Group. This was done without them notifying the Ecuadorian government, which resulted in regional tension.
After a total of five hours of jumping through hoops to navigate the border crossing procedures, I was on my way. I was advised to visit the cemetery of Tulcan while in the area, which I did. The cemetery has some beautiful sculpted cypress trees. They are sculpted into different figures of the Inca, Aztec, and Greek gods. Others are just sculpted into perfect squares or perfectly rounded shapes. The cemetery is several acres large and guided tours can be arranged.
Jose one of the guides
John for British Columbia, Canada going north after already have been south. He's been on the road for 3 month now and 3 more to go.