Posted by: Googie | June 6, 2010

Sanctuario de Las Lajas & Popayan

I had stayed back in the nothing-much-to-do town of Ipiales just to visit the Sanctuario de Las Lajas, and when I saw the majestic church the next morning, I was glad that I had stayed. The church was constructed on the side of a mountain with a bridge over a deep gorge with a river flowing underneath.


Walking to the great church


The incredibly beautiful Sanctuario de Las Lajas


The facade of the church


The interior (notice how the mountain itself forms the back wall)


A much better picture of the church

(image courtesy:

From Ipiales, I went to Pasto; and then the next morning to Popayan. Popayan turned out to be a laid-back town and I spent the whole day just walking around along with a short trek to the top of El Morro.


Youngsters practicing parkour in Popayan

What is parkour?


The statue on top of El Morro

Later in the evening, when I was walking back to my hostel, I heard someone shout “Googie”. I thought I must have misheard something else for “Googie”, for it was very unlikely that my notoriety had reached all the way to Popayan already. But it was “Googie” alright because out popped Pedro from an internet centre. It was really good to see him again, and we spent the next few hours catching up over dinner and a few beers.

Pedro told me about how spectacular it was to see the Tungurahua erupt, an event that I had missed only by a few days. He also told me about how Morgane got drugged in Quito, and was made to withdraw $200 from an ATM without her even realising what she was doing. When we decided to pay up and head back from the lounge bar we were at, we asked the girl behind the bar counter for the check. But she obviously didn’t hear us over the loud music, because in a flash she had opened two more bottles and replaced our empty ones. We assumed that providence wanted us to stay longer, so proceeded to down the two new arrivals.


The Tungurahua eruption that I missed by less than a week

(image courtesy:

Later Pedro walked me back to my hostel, and we decided to meet up again in Cali if possible, and definitely in Bogota at the end of the month.


Popayan town square by night

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