Salento in the coffee-region of Colombia was an advice of my friend from Cartagena. So I decided to skip Cali and go to the tranquil Salento. And it was a good decision! The village was very calm and the Cacoa-Valley was nearby which you can reach with a jeep and where you can do nice hikes – and that was exactly what I did. I was riding on the back of the jeep to the valley and hiked some beautiful trails, one time together with a couple from Portugal, which I met before on my trip to the lost city. That happens very often, that you meet people on your trip, you have met before and its always funny! On the trail I could see beautiful nature and lots of Kolibris (Hummingbirds) which took the sweet juice out of the flowers.
I would love to stay one more day in this region and explore some coffee-farms. But my travel plan was tight – I wanted to be in Quito by the 19th to see the Championslegaue final (I should have skipped that…) so I decided spontaneously to skip another colonial city and go the 600KM directly to Pasto, 2 hours from the border to Ecuador and with beautiful sights around. The trip took me the whole day and on a stop in the bus station in Cali I came back from the toilet and the bus driver had my backpack already outside and told me that I have to change the bus which should leave soon. We ran through the bus terminal and I caught the bus with the price that I got the only free seat in the bus which was on the window next to one of the fattest girls in Colombia. The next 3 hours I felt like a sardine in a box and I used the next stop to change the place to manage to breathe again…
In Pasto I realized that it is men-day in Germany, a day where you go hiking with your friends and drink beer all day long. I decided that it is necessary to have at least one beer and the only shop which was open had only Quilmes beer for 2€. Whatever, after this day trip of 16hours (3 Busses, 1 Taxi) I definitely needed that!
From Pasto I want to the Laguna de Cochoa, a big lake in the mountains. Normally it is very beautiful but arrived there in the rainy season. The good thing was that I was the only tourist and I had the boat to the island for myself. The bad thing was that it was rainy and cold! Brrr Lets get out of here! The next stop was the sanatoria de las Lajas, a church which is build inside the mountain and is connected by a bridge to the other side of the mountain! I walk there with all my luggage, cause I wanted to continue to Ecuador, which was now only 10KM away. I didn’t know that I have to go down several stairs to reach the church – the way back was a real challenge and a good work out! The scenery I got was spectacular! I enjoyed that moment, it was one of the most beautiful places I visited on my trip. And it made me sad to leave Colombia – what a beautiful and great country!
I entered the border of Ecuador. The country number 39 I visited in my life. I had to wait ages for the entry stamp and try to buy from my last pesos a Agaurdiente schnapps for my Couchsurfer Adrianna in Quito. The duty free shop was closed, but fortunately I could get one in the border town right before I took a bus to Otavalo. I read that Saturday (The next day) there is a huge market and I wanted to see that. And indeed the whole city was a market like I figured out the next day. But the most impressive thinks was the animal market where the traded pigs, chicken, dogs, gunie pigs, cows, goats and lamas. It was crazy to see that and people who have gunie pigs as pets at home should definitely avoid that place, because people buy them to eat them later… I felt kind of sad to leave this village because there where so many things round what I could have visited but I had to be in Quito at 1pm to watch the Champions League final in the Irish pub where my couch surfer Adrianna was working. I met there the annoying Irish girls from my lost city trip too, the world is too small! And every one knows how this day ended. The German team lost, I was sad and had too much beer, was tired from the day and decided to skip the party.
I had one day in Quito and I went for that to the center of the world (Mitad del Mundo), this place where the equator was located. There was a big monument and the whole thing was like an amusement park but only a few people know that the real equator is 300m to the north, how GPS-systems say. There is the solar museum and you can do funny test. So it is true when you flush the toilet in the northern hemisphere, the water goes anti clockwise and on the southern side clockwise. Exactly on the equator you have less weight and are weaker. It was fun! I also went to an inactive volcano which is only 3km away. In its big crater there is actually a community with corn fields and houses. Wow – I never seen that, they must hope that the volcano keeps sleeping or they soon will have some popcorn 😉 The rest of the day I discovered Quito, which has a beautiful historic city center. But the bad reputation of the city towards the crime rate and the fact, that people in colder places (Quito is on 2800 meters) seem more colder and unfriendly, was making this tour a bit uncomfortable and I was a bit worried about my stuff. If you traveled a lot and already been too dangerous places you discover a feeling for dangerous and doggy places and Quito was for me not the safest place. I left Quito with the night bus, even that I had a very mice company with my couchsurfer and two other travelers I met…
I traveled 2000KM in 10 days and that was making me quite tired so I decided to spend some time on the beach before I meet my brother and his friend in Guayaquill. And its incredible how the time flies if you don’t do that much. For five days I stayed in Montañita, 3 hours from Guayaquill and spend my time with surfing, lying on the beach and party. I met really cool people and I had big fun! But what happens in Montañita stays in Montañita… But now a have enough energy for my last five weeks of traveling – and it’s still a long way what I have to go, but for the next 3 weeks not alone anymore. It is going to be fun!More picture are like always in the Galery.
AMAZING! Dude, you are really making me think of quit my job and go for a couple of months trip to South America. It is really amazing!! I didn’t know Colombia had such a place like Santuario de las Lajas. It really looks to me like a gothic church somewhere in the Alps. It is surreal.
And well, I’d love to try roasted Guinea pig.. I’ve tried worse stuff in China XD.
Keep enjoying your trip and keep updating us about the amazing places you are visiting.
PS. Sorry for Bayern Munchen