Tag Archives: Ibarra

Pasto to Ibarra, Friday, 21 December 2012, Day 171

Las Lajas Sanctuary reminds me of Lourdes

I made a Skype call home and I then had my complementary breakfast which was just a couple of fried eggs I was expecting more considering the price I had paid for the room and it was about 10.30am when I finally hit the road I am crossing the border into Ecuador today but first a visit to Las Lajas Sanctuary a church built on a bridge over a river in a gorge.  It was quite impressive spent a while just wandering around taking in the sight impressive building and great location and the sun has decided to say hallo as it was raining when I arrived.

cool church

              

Cute!

Not so cute!

Next stop the border I first checked my bike out of Columbia  took 2 minutes changed some money with the a money changer took 5 minutes than it went all slow. A rather a large queue at immigration to check out of Columbia and even bigger ones on the Ecuadoran side. I fortunately bumped into Andrea who kept me company in the queue, Alex was trying to get insurance as he had been told by the Customs that this was now mandatory for Ecuador this is the first I have heard of this. Alex comes back and has not managed to get insurance something wrong with there systems so they leave me in the long queue and we arrange to meet in Ibarra later where who knows?

Queues into Ecuador

I finally get the to the front of the queue of immigration I have a bit of a joke with the lady when she asked if I was married and I asked if she was asking other than the  killer comedy I was in next the bike. Get a photocopy of my entrance visa than to Aduana who where rushed of there feet but I went through reasonably fast and there was no mention about the mandatory insurance and after a couple of hours I was in Ecuador. It was late so made haste to Ibarra and the GPS is not working yet another country that is not covered in any detail on the maps I have it took me a while to realise this.

New Country yeah

I got to Ibarra as it was getting dark and no obvious place to stay I had an address but I could not load this in the GPS so drove round and round in ever decreasing circles asking folks for directions until I finally found the street and then the Hostel. From the outside it did not look like it had parking facilities but joy of joy there was huge parking lot around the back I had to drive a couple blocks to get there but it was safe and reasonably priced compared with last night. Alex and Andrea bike was also there so it looks like they coincidently that they went to the same place as me and it turns out they are in the room opposite me. I check in and arrange to go for dinner with Alex and Andrea and Joop who is staying at a Hostel next door so we pick him up and go for dinner at some Ecuadorian lady’s place Alex had met earlier and she was also going on a big trip of South America with her husband so she wanted to chat about this and it was her restaurant. So a very pleasant evening chatting in Spanish as the husband did not speak English that well. (I have forgotten their names :-()

Had my first drink since Houston a glass of warm red wine so I am not sure that counts as falling of the wagon and it would have been rude to refuse.

Another long hard day another country life on the road is tough but I am still enjoying myself

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Ibarra to Quito, Saturday, 22 December 2012, Day 172

Otavalo Market

      

      

  

A short day planned today driving to Quito I get there about 3pm ish and I realise that I have just crossed the equator another milestone where you are supposed to stop and take mandatory picture of you on either side of the equator but as I never saw any signs or anything to remind me of this so that was another photo opportunity missed. I did however stop at a great little market a say little allegedly it one of the biggest in South America in Otavalo. As I drove into town I saw a sign saying Mercado so I followed that and find myself at a local fruit and veg place with a couple of stalls. So if this the biggest market in South America than I have been diddled. I asked a local and he says the market I am looking for is in the center of town so quick detour and I park the bike and I spend a couple of hours wandering round this nice little town who’s majority of streets have been taken over by market stalls selling everything conceivable. I Had some breakfast in a local restaurant next to the market where a strange old man kept trying to clear away stuff from my table even though it was quite clear I had not yet finished it This must be his way of turning tables quickly.

 

oi move your blocking my view!

  

Next stop Quito (It should have been the Equator :-() to a hostel address Andrea had given me the Casa Bambu. GPS is useless so I spent hours looking for it with a small map from my lonely planet  guidebook and Quito is huge so it took me for ages I got quite close on many occasion but then got lost again. I finally I find the place and its on a very steep hill that I dare not park my bike on on so stop at the top and walk down to inquire about a room. It is a really cool place its like a maize once you are in I kept getting lost and they had a garage for the bike and a great roof garden with great views over Quito. So I settle in and the first thing I did was try and figure out how to get my GPS working so went onto http://garmin.openstreetmap.nl and downloaded a map of Ecuador which was 10 times better than the one I have. I spent the rest of the afternoon experimenting with http://garmin.openstreetmap.nl and I finally had the whole of South America on my GPS so I may now have a vague idea where I am going from now on. It was about 6pm when I had finished so I walked to a supermarket a Dutch girl had told me about 20 minutes there and 20 minutes back and I brought a microwave lasagne and walked back bit out of breath as the hill as mentioned earlier was very steep and Quito is at 2800 meters. When I got back to the Hostel I realised that they had no microwave so I had to figure out how to cook me dinner so thats 50 minutes a Bain Marie (cooking term :-)) it was disgusting.

views from the roof terrace

I spent the rest of the evening playing catch up with this blog which is all I ever seem to do these days and then beddy byes in a large room with 5 big single beds me and two Chinese girls oh err missis.