Tag Archives: Truck

Las Lajas Cathedral – a long Day 169/171

It was Day 169 of the tour and it was one of the toughest days logistically. We left Popayán at 05:00 needing to get to the Colombian/Ecuadorian border before its closing time of 18:00. Unfortunately we had only been able to make running repairs to the broken suspension of the truck, so we were limited in speed, unless we made the cab rock so much to make myself and the driver sick. We had made the decision not to stay in the designated stop of border-town Ipiales for security reasons, as last year’s driver had been robbed at gunpoint. This is Colombia, after all.

Also on the itinerary was the requirement to get to Las Lajas Cathedral (in the photo above). Talk about a sight for sore eyes. I kept the group to a very military-style quick visit in order to get to the border in time. But it’s the kind of place that I could wander for hours. The drive down the valley towards the Cathedral was majestic. I shudder to think of the price of a wedding here.

It’s a pity our visit was a bit rushed, but we managed to get through the border in time. This was despite the usual delays and a small ‘processing fee’ to get the right ‘insurance’ to enter Ecuador. We arrived in Otavalo around 23:00, a long travel day even by our standards. But seeing Las Lajas Cathedral in the flesh was worth all the hassle.

Dodgy Guatemalan Roads

At the end of my training tour (when I shadowed our best tour leader for three weeks) I had to get the 3am night bus from Rio Dulce to Guatemala to catch my flight back up to Mexico. We got the boat at 2am with our security guard, who only escorted me 200m to the bus station, but as this is Guatemala, he was still fairly necessary. Due to the high rate of head-on collisions on Guatemalan roads I had been advised to sit as far back as possible to ‘give me a chance’ – but I ended up getting seat number 4. Oh well.

It was grand in the end, with only the one accident on the way. Ironically we had seen an overturned truck just earlier that day and our van only narrowly passed though the gap left on the side. We could have been stuck for ages otherwise. There were a dozen locals crowded around the truck. Their blasé attitude to the wreckage in front of them conveyed the sense that this was a regular occurence on these roads. The daily life in Guatemala.