90 km before the border, we stopped in Ibarra at Sommerwind for 2 days. German Hans has built a nice campsite near a lake. There are Cabanas and a large grass field for campers. It is highly recommended hence there were 10 campers from the large trucks to the small Passepartout. We needed a relaxing break so we decided to stay for 2 nights. Still short compared to most others who stay there for a week or more to do their camper repairs and laundry. We would have like to stay longer but do have a boat to catch. On our rest day we made a lovely 11 km walk around the lake and tried out the local fish restaurant. Delicious fried fish with boiled potatoes.
The drive up the mountain went slow but without problems. At both the Ecuador and the Colombian border there are large groups of Venezuelans trying to find a better place to live till their country has changed for the better. Things were well arranged and non Venezuelans can go to a separate immigration counter. All in all the border crossing took around 1 1-2 hr which is much shorter than some of the stories we heard. Just after the border there is in Las Lajas a pilgrims church built in a gorge across the river valley. We stayed the night at the cable car parking lot and drove down to the church the next morning. Fortunately it was a Friday so not too busy with pilgrims.
We were warned that the road to Pasto (77 km) was under construction. After 40 km the first of many road stops started. Fortunately everybody had to drive slow so we were not the reason of any delays. We did go to the side of the road after hearing some scratching noise from the left rear break. Rudy removed the wheel and saw some metal dust inside. Obviously something wrong with the brake pad. He put the wheel back and we drove straight into town to the break specialist. They replaced the rear brake pads, which were worn completely and we were on our way after 2 hrs. Because it was getting late we stopped just outside of town at the parking lot of local park with a nice view of the nearby volcano.
The countryside in Colombia is different than Ecuador. The mountains and valleys look more ot less the same but in Colombia there are still much more trees on the mountains. ie patches of forest and patches of agriculture. Also on the top of the mountains there often is a crown of trees.