10 October – Day 80 – half way!
Pasto, Colombia to Otavola, Ecuador
Today we and visited a unique gothic Church built into the side of a valley and then crossed the border between Colombia and Ecuador.
It was our first border crossing for a while and probably took an hour and a half, which really isn’t too bad as these things go. A first for me was having two bikes to look after instead of one… I was on ‘bike duty’ while Adrian and Jeremy organised the paperwork. Another first was that Adrian was able to use my passport to check me out of Colombia as well as himself – even though I wasn’t actually standing anywhere near the immigration building at the time! Can’t see that happening in Australia…!!?
There were a ton of roadworks along the way, which meant that the relatively short distance actually took most of the day… we only just made it into Otavola by nightfall. We also had a bit of a challenge in finding petrol; the first four petrol stations we went to were either completely closed, open but totally out of fuel or open but only had low grade fuel available! Given that we’d deliberately not filled up before crossing the border because we knew the petrol in Ecuador was significantly cheaper, we did really need some! It was a good reminder of the fuel situation in South America, where it’s not always easy or possible to get fuel.
We parked the bike inside the foyer of our hostel… nothing out of the ordinary there, other than the fact that the doorway was slightly narrower than the bike’s handlebars are wide! So Adrian and Jeremy had to sort of wiggle it through.
9 October – Day 79
Cali, Colombia to Pasto, Colombia (via Popayan)
Today was a bit of a whirlwind tour of southern Colombia, taking in the cities of Popayan and Pasto.
Popayan is also known as ‘the white city’ because all of the buildings in the centre of the town are painted glowing, snow white. It was really noticeable after the bright colours of previous cities.
On the ride into Pasto, we met up with another overlander on a BMW, Jeremy from France. He’s in the middle of an epic multi-year world tour combining travelling and working. We ended up riding to Pasto together and will probably ride together for the next few days.