48 Photos - Oct 9, 2012
Photo: We wake up in Ibarra at Hacienda Chorlavi.  Hacienda Chorlavi used to be a Jesuit monastery.Photo: The boys and I explore before breakfast and go inside this interesting little building.Photo: It's a cock fighting pit!  Sadly, we were unable to catch a fight.Photo: Photo: On our way to breakfast.Photo: Breakfast al fresco.Photo: Luke is drinking...you guessed right. Chocolate.Photo: We continue heading north towards Colombia.  Today we are pilgrims heading towards our Lady of Las Lajas.Photo: Photo: Photo: We stop for gasoline. BTW, those prices are per gallon! Prices in Colombia are almost four times the amount so we are limited to ten gallons lest we smuggle gasoline and sell.Photo: Ecuador asks us to return soon and we have every intention of coming back in a few hours.Photo: Colombia welcomes us with the supposed "you must stay in the country for 24 hours" policy.  When we show that we'll go back to Ecuador, the policy becomes, "as long as you return after 8 p.m."  When that doesn't fly, "as long as you return after 5 p.m.  The system will let us override it after 5 p.m."   System, my rear.  I agree but we come back at 4:15 p.m.  The system did just fine letting us leave Colombia.Photo: Ipiales!   Electronics heaven for Ecuadorians.  A brand name 55 inch flat screen can be purchased for less than $700 USD.   Getting it across the border can be a problem, so the stores will deliver it for you across the border.    They knew when it is best to do so and will call you to let you know when to meet them.  I think it is hilarious!Photo: We continue past downtown towards Our Lady of Las Lajas!Photo: Photo: There's the shrine!Photo: It takes us about 20 minutes to walk down to the shrine.Photo: As we make our way down we find many plaques thanking our Lady for her intercession.Photo: And more plaquesPhoto: The climb down continues.Photo: Little Rosa on Juana's back pointing towards our Lady.  "Mami, the Lady is calling me."Photo: Photo: The miraculous image.  It is not painted.  What you see is the color of the rock.Photo: Rosa and her mom sought shelter in this cave.  The daughter spoke and said, "Look at the lady!"  A woman was standing there that looked like the Virgin.   When the people came to see, they found this image on the rock.Photo: I find it intriguing that though the image is believed to be miraculous, it is "upgraded" with the addition of the gold crowns.Photo: See how the shrine is built into the rock.Photo: After praying in the church, we make it back out onto the bridge and head towards the museum which is in the basement of the shrine.Photo: What version 1.0 looked like after the discovery in 1750.Photo: This thing was designed by Ecuadorian engineers and architects.   The labor was all Colombian.Photo: Photo: We come out of the museum and my dad decides to lie down with the dog, and requests a picture!  He's nuts.  I just wish I had thought of it first!Photo: Photo: Photo: We begin our ascent.  It takes us almost 30 minutes.    You can see that Catherine is already tired (bottom right).Photo: All five children got to ride the Cesar Express.  Justin was first, then Catherine, and so in order of weight.Photo: Teresa was impatient.  Must keep climbing.Photo: Souvenir shops give us an excuse to rest. But alas, I do not help out the local economy.Photo: Photo: Our driver, Luis, was like family.  He "adopted" Iliana as his "granddaughter" and carried her all the way up.Photo: Still going.  Slacker children taking a rest.Photo: Slacker mom taking a rest.Photo: We say goodbye to our Lady of Las Lajas, and the beautiful countryside.Photo: We made it! It is 3:37 p.m. local time and 4:15 by the time the Colombia teller is done scanning our passports. Well before 5 p.m., but we had no issues. Gee, I was "shocked." Yeah, right.  They just wanted us to spend more time and USD in their country.  We are back in Ecuador and past customs before 5:30 p.m.  We eat dinner in Tulcan and head back to the hotel.Photo: It is after 9 p.m. by the time we make it back to the hotel.  The kids all want some "Cho-co-lah-teh."  The Hot Chocolate is thick and rich.Photo: They move us indoors.  It was a nice way to end our stay in the northern country.  Tomorrow we fly back to Guayaquil.Photo: The restaurant (the entire hotel actually) was full of Catholic iconography.Photo: Bed time!