After a celebratory pizza and drink or two at Bamboo in Puerto Cayo, a beautiful sunset and a crazy caterpillar train ride, we set off bright and early to see what Quito had in store for us.
We enjoyed a leisurely drive to Quito, however encountered some difficulty with our vehicle. She decided that she was not liking any hills today and we took it very slowly, at some points not getting over 20km per hour. At our final destination we struggled with the hill to park our van but after a bit of a rest, she got us there in the end. We had the great pleasure of meeting up with Jessica, Will, Avalar and Largo from Goodie Goodie Gumdrop, fellow travellers and world schoolers.
We left Emilia to get creative with Avalon while Matt, Matthew and I headed into Quito to see what we could find. Purchasing a couple of pairs of shoes were high on the list as Matthew's feet had grown since our last shop as was a haircut for Matt. We explored the old city and enjoyed a snack or two in the process.
Did someone say bagels? We enjoyed an early breakfast of bagels (we had actually not eaten a bagel in over two years) and coffee and hung out with Jessica and Avalar to give Emilia and Avalar more time to work on their video. A beautiful day to sit and relax in the park.
After some more bagels (how could we resist?), we visited the centre of the Earth and tried to make a smooth getaway from Quito. However it wasn't quite as simple as that. We made the executive decision to continue on with our journey despite the fact hills were a struggle. We made it to the border, waited approximately 5 hours to cross, got held up in traffic for an hour on the way to Pasto and finally collapsed in a heap at our hostel in the late evening. Better late than never, right?
With a definite high soldier presence, we drove through the beautiful countryside of Colombia. Yes we broke down but we took it slow and steady so we did not do any long term damage to the van. She did us proud arriving in Popayan in the early afternoon. We enjoyed a lovely Mexican meal before retiring for the evening.
Well what a day! The drive was beautiful, the scenery picturesque and we took it slow to give the van a rest. What we weren't prepared for however was the size of the hills in Pereira. It was easy to get in but not so easy to get out. The kindness of strangers really made itself known as strangers tried to help us out of the city to our end destination. While we didn't quite make it, some locals let us park our van in their driveway until we came up with a plan.
We woke up to the beauty of the Colombia coffee district and took the time to settle into our new surroundings. For the next month we call Anukara home as we help owners Ivan and Angela and their two young boys, Manu and Gio, create their dream of an eco permaculture hostel and yoga retreat. And of course we will look to find a mechanic in the city and see if we can get the van repaired before we drive to La Pacha in mid-February.