Saturday, November 2, 2013

Las Lajas

We went on our first big family adventure today.  Patrice has a friend with a van and we hired him and his wife for the day.  It was a nice van and if I had been able to buy one of those in the states, I would have been content with it instead of gigantic van.  Why don't we get the same vehicles in the states that they send elsewhere?

Sorry, I digress...

It's about a two hour drive from Pasto.  I am proud to say that my entire family was ready and waiting when he showed up at 9:00.  That's 9:00 AM.  We had drugged Connor up with some Dramamine.  The roads here are mostly paved but they wind and turn, go up and down so much that it makes the back roads of southern WV look like the interstates in the Midwest.  I attempted to get some pictures of the mountains... they are beautiful and impressive.  You can't quite appreciate them in the pictures partly because it was overcast and everything looks very gray and partly because there is nothing to give the pictures scale so that you realize the vastness, the enormity of them.  Anyway, I was really impressed.  I'll try and post some pictures of that another day.

Las Lajas is a church that was built upon a sight where a supposed miracle occurred.  If you want to read more about the story, click here.  The first three building in this location were so well attended that the fourth was built on donations.  Later, the bridge was added.  It really is an awesome church.  We got there just as mass ended.  We went in the church and looked around, took some pictures, prayed and then went down below to visit the museum.  We also played at the little playground on the other side of the gorge for a few minutes before we steeled ourselves for the walk back up the hill.  We grabbed a quick snack to tide us over and stopped in Ipiales for a late lunch on the way home.  We had a good day.  Here, have some pictures.

This one is taken from the overlook down into the valley where the church sits. 

This is the best thing that I can give you for perspective on just how tall the mountains are. See how small the church is?

Now look at how small the people are compared to the church.

In this picture that has the whole church, you can hardly see the people, they are so tiny.
So back to the beginning, here we are coming down the mountain on foot.  (It's all relative, too.  Coming down the mountain to visit the church that sits at 9000 ft above sea level.)  On the rock walls are plaques remembering those that donated to the current cathedral.

This is the mother carrying her deaf/mute daughter who supposedly met the virgin Mary in a cave here and was healed.

Going down more.  Here's four of the six.

There are tons and tons of plaques...which explains why this church is so impressive.

Artfully framed, moody weather church steeple picture.
Another idea of the scale of this church... look at the people.

Here are three kids going down different stairs.

More art.

Trying out what they told me in that photography book I read.

Ahhh, yes.  Here's a teaser.  It's the whole family together in front of the church... too bad we're so far away and you can't see how cute the kiddos are.

This is the waterfall across the gorge from the church.  If you look in the bottom center of this picture, you can barely make out a set of swings, slide, and see-saws.  That's where we'll be later in the pictures.

Walking to the waterfalls.

The inside of the church.  It was not nearly as impressive as the outside, nor as impressive as I expected.

Stained glass windows throughout the sanctuary.

There were doors going down the one side that had a great view.

This is one of the carved solid wood doors.

Going down under the sanctuary to the museum.  I really liked it down here.  It was like a castle.  I felt like I was in Narnia.

The museum hallways.

A model of the church.  The sign says, "Favor, No Toca"  (Please don't touch.)  Do you see what my 7 year old (who can fully read and understand Spanish) is doing ?

The aforementioned swing set... oooohhh, look!  There's me!

The merry go rounds here are awesome.

One last artsy fartsy picture... which happens to be my favorite.

In other news, were are in the final stages of paperwork here in Pasto.  We are waiting for one last person to give the stamp of approval.  Technically, they have ten working days to do it, starting October 30th but Patrice says it doesn't take that long.  We are hoping to be going to Bogotá by the end of next week, maybe.  Then we will be one full week there.  Then we come home.
Today when we were driving in the van, Yuli asked me if we were going to Los Estados Unidos today.  She wasn't crying.  This is good.  I told her not today.  I told her one more week in Pasto, then we fly to Bogotá, then we fly to the United States.  She seemed excited to fly to Bogotá on an airplane, so I think that's a good sign.
All in all, we survived our first family field trip.  I found it difficult to take pictures since Yuli tends to wander.  Ken carried John practically the whole day so he couldn't do much with her.  It's going to take some practice.  It was good to get out and do something different.  Even if the road trip was torturous to the three new kids.  They will be road warriors soon enough.  We just need to work on increasing the size of Yuli's bladder.

1 comment: