Fondest memory: Six hours on a bus south we were in Pasto none-the-less, the victims of high cost flight changes and our own stubbornness. We arrived to find a cuter town than expected and set off to find new culinary delights to keep us busy till Las Lajas became the finale we hoped for. There turned out to be a great local institution type place right on the main square, featuring many regional delicacies. It was not expensive, nor was it cheap as evidenced by the preponderance of well-to-do Colombians frequently the place. This was our second visit and though we were drawn back primarily for one last lulada, we had noticed locals gobbling up empanadas on a previous visit and wanted to sample these as well. We ordered them along with our dreamy drinks and soon had a plate full in front of us, along with a very tasty dipping sauce. It was much like the peanut-based chili-infused one we had in Popayán but also a little different. It was obviously very popular and many of the people around us seemed quite enamored with it too. We had finished and were waiting for our bill when I saw a woman out of the corner of my eye. I didn't really look up when she motioned for the remainder of our generous size portion of sauce. As much as we loved it, even we could not finish it with eight empanadas. I motioned for her to take it, assuming she was just busing the tables. She oddly started out the front door, near which we were seated and no sooner did she do that than the hostess/cashier started yelling at her to stay out. She came over and apologized for this obviously embarrassing scene. It turned out that it was a beggar from the street who obviously liked this sauce too. It seemed that not only Pasto's well-heeled were in love with the secret sauce of Salón Guadalquivir.
Though initially we were not happy to have pre-booked our flight from Pasto, we found the town had many charms. Food was one of them but certainly it had its share of fine churches too. Iglesia de San Juan Bautista was particularly stunning, especially its interior.
Fondest memory: Pasto was truly just a means to an end. The end was a visit to Las Lajas, the Gothic Sanctuary Cathedral spanning a gorgeous gorge south of Pasto, actually on the outskirts of Ipiales. There was little reason otherwise for us to have come this far south in Colombia. We were not on our way to Ecuador and in fact were pretty much ready to go home after we had finished the Colombian coast a few weeks earlier. We had already accomplished two major treks and visited countless charming colonial towns. Two months was not too long in Colombia but it was starting to push it. That said, all the stops south of the coast had been wondeful: Salento, Popayán, and even Cali all had charmed us and we had been glad we stopped in each. But now we felt that Las Lajas, the focus of all this travel south was no longer so important. We would have been perfectly happy if our flight to Bogotá to connect back to our home in South Florida was from Popayán rather than Pasto at this point. We were truly spent. (concluded below in Fondest Memory)
Favorite thing: You have to visit Cafe 'La Catedral' and old house converted in coffee shop, great gardens where you can enjoy a cup of coffee and cake or home made biscutes, nice to see how the 'Pastusos' (people from Pasto) spend their free time, having coffee and chating for hours.