Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Solento to Canoa

After some relaxing, we headed out.(yes, there was a girl on the back of my bike...just a friend from Argentina)

Anyway the ride south was pleasant and this time I made sure we stopped at the Sanctuary just before the border and it was just amazing.  A large cathedral built right into a secluded canyon wall.  

Here is an exert from wikipedia I wanted to share, because it's such an interesting story.

"Las Lajas Sanctuary (in Spanish Santuario de Las Lajas) is a minor basilica church located in the southern ColombianDepartment of Nariño, municipality of Ipiales and built inside the canyon of the Guáitara River.
The present church was built in Gothic Revival style in 1949. The name Laja comes from the name of a type of flat sedimentary rock similar to shale.

The cascada

The inspiration for the church's creation was a result of a miraculous event in 1754 when an Amerindian named Maria Mueces and her deaf-mute daughter Rosa were caught in a very strong storm. The two sought refuge between the gigantic Lajas, when to Maria Mueces's surprise, her mute daughter, Rosa exclaimed "the mestiza is calling me..." and pointed to thelightning-illuminated silhouette over the laja. This apparition of the Virgin Mary caused pilgrimage to this location, with occasional miraculous cases of healing reported. The image on the stone is still visible today."

This place is a shrine and I could feel the energy. It literally radiated.
Looking down from the edge of he cathedral.

After the leaving the Sanctuary and crossing the border again, it was once again getting late and we found a town called San Gabriel and a quiet little hostal.  The next day we didn't waste any time and headed for the coast as per our plan.

The north coast of Ecuador is known for it's Caribbean influence and I was looking forward to something a bit different.  There was A LOT of very thick jungle which made for a bit of an interesting ride, but have to say I was a bit disappointed.    There was a lot of poverty and garbage and Esmeralda's seemed a bit like the "forgotten" part of Ecuador.   We stayed one night in the small town of  Atacames,which was one of the nicer spots in the north coast.  A bars really trying to overcharge us for a couple of drinks and we had to go to the place next door.
Lots of places for drinks and such on the beach, but not many tourists and a bit over-priced.

We had a great ride down the coast the next day and when we finally arrived in Canoa, I was like....yes!  This is the place.  The beach was lovely, not extremely white sand, but very nice and great waves.  This place rocks!

We got a hostel for the first night, then realised there was a great place next door for about the same price and promptly moved.

The view from the 1st hostel down to the yard and the beach beyond.

The next few days were spent surfing and kayak surfing.  There is quiet a few tourist and some great restaurants.  I also looked at some property, just to satisfy my curiosity.  If I wanted to live in a beach town, this would definitely be a contender.

On one of the side streets, one of the local guys making up some fishing nets.

Ya, it was really hard to leave Canoa.  Some people that we talked to said the rest of the south coast is pretty awesome too, but it was time to head in-land to go and see some ruins.  We took to the road and headed east towards Guayaquil and ultimately Ingapirca. 

Along the way we stopped for a needed break and there was something interesting at the gas station cafe.  A small group of people travelling together, (not sure if they were friends, family or co-workers)  but they had fighter chickens with them.  I obviously don't sanction that sort of shit, but I did take a few pictures.   They weren't shy showing off the roosters and seemed pretty proud of them.  Moments like this make you realise how different our society is from others.

These are the blades that they fix to the roosters beaks and ultimately they will kill each other with.

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