11.10.2009 - 12.10.2009
Alas our time in Colombia has come to an end and it was time to head to the border city of Ipiales to cross into Ecuador. Ipiales gave us a warm welcome and an appropriate point by which to bid farewell to Colombia. Our collective from Touquerres was so quick to Ipiales that we had all of Sunday to visit the city, strolling the quiet Sunday streets watching children playing football, pigeons pooping on the cathedral, indigenous women selling 10 different varieties of potatoes, and young artists painting murals on crumbling walls. We took another collective to the impressive cathedral of Las Lajas, an uber-gothic cathedral where the virgin appeared on a rock near the river.
The original cathedral was built back in the late 1800´s and later rebuilt during the early 1900´s so that the rock where her image was seen is now the main alter inside the cathedral. Sunday was a perfect time to go as it was busy with Colombian pilgrims coming for mass and to take home some of the holy waters from a nearby waterfall. The cathedral is quite impressive, almost mystical as it seemed so out of place set in a lush green canyon. Surrounding the cathedral are several trails, a family park, food vendors, and plaques giving praise to the miracles of the virgin. We spent the majority of the day there enjoying the atmosphere and eating sweet tamales wrapped in banana leaves. We had a wonderful last day in Colombia.