Next day the rain was still falling when we were planning to leave, and Susanne was still not fit, so she proposed to look for a bus. Since buses leave from Pasto, it was a gamble to wait on the side of the highway and hope one bus would stop. A guy in Pedregal that earns his living helping visitors park tried to help us, but most trucks going to Ipiales empty to buy rice were already gone and could not find us transport. Desperate, we left the village and went to the highway to try our luck.
A problem of years of violence in Colombia is that people don’t trust each other, in case they are going to be cheated, so nobody wanted to pick us up even if they were empty. Our great luck was that Ruben, the owner of Xtreme Bike in Ipiales, had stopped for a coffee in Pedregal and felt sorry for us, fellow cyclists, so he picked us up.
Not only did he give us the lift for free, he also gave us tips about the area and what lies ahead in Ecuador, and he also left us in a hotel that was great and cheap, “Plaza La 14”. Thanks again Rubén!
Taking a lift was again the right choice as the weather was quite poor, and the climb from San Juan to Ipiales was pretty tough. Since we were there early, we went for lunch and then we took the bikes without weight to visit the famous church of Las Lajas.
On the way we saw the cable car option and the kids immediately said they wanted a ride on it, so we cycled up to the upper station and left the bikes there. The ride is slow but with good views (although the plexiglass of the cabins is not great for clear pictures). The kids were free which was great.
The church is quite pretty, but the best is the location, in a narrow gorge at the bottom of a valley. It is apparently quite a popular place for Colombians but luckily for us it was relatively quiet.
On the way back we wanted to stay to see the night illumination, which is meant to be quite impressive, but it started to rain heavily so we just cycled back to our hotel. Ipiales is very active during the day, with many shoppers from Ecuador, but at dark the city dies, and we had trouble finding a restaurant. We had to ask and we ended up in a fast food chain where we spent our last pesos in an average food.