Sometimes you have to make things you have never previously thought of but once situation demands it, you should decide. Let’s get right to the point!
Once again, for the second time, I found myself a few days before the expiration of my tourist visa here in Colombia. The question was: What to do the next? I have to remind that in March I stood in front of the same situation but til now I haven´t written about that but I definitely should- the small boat trip to Panama is worth it!
So I had two options, thus in fact three but the third one was to return to Europe which I rejected immediately. Ok, let´s just think of two options which were either go to Medellin to the migration office and extend a tourist visa for a fee and submit plenty of documentation along with reserved leaving ticket from Colombia or leave Colombia being a few days in neighbor country and then return again. I counted 2 +2, I made pros and cons list, list of expenses for option A (Medellin) and option B (neighbor country) and the result was: in both cases I have to spend almost the same sum of money. Some would probably just go to migration, pay a fee and few minutes later leave the office with extended tourist visa. And some like me would suffer more than 20hours in over-airconditioned bus to get to the border.
This is the story: I left Medellín in the afternoon hoping that it is possible to get to Ipiales (border town) in 16 hours after consulting Google Maps (distance 890km, 14hours and 36 minutes). NO way! The other the most terrible think I did is that I blindly trusted the bus company guy who sold me the ticket that the bus would have 3 stops. Neither first one was fulfiled nor the second one. The bus ride finally took infernal 21 hours and I can not forget that the bus tire was damaged and we had to wait one more hour in Ipiales meantime they repaired it + we had just ONE break on the way!
Finally I got to Ipiales, took a car taxi to the fronters and went directly to migration office to get leaving stamp from Colombia. It would not have been so easy if a woman at the migration office hadn´t noticed crossed leaving stamp and next to it entering stamp, the same day, the same place. What is that? I saw questions mark over her head. Of course she was confused and asked me to explain it. Well, I entered Colombia through Capurganá in the north and mister consul who worked that day gave me mistakenly the leaving stamp in order to give me the entering one. He noticed that and probably canceled it and stamped the good one.
The womand told me to wait and closed the small window. I was there standing and waiting without my passport and meanwhile many groups of foreigners came and stamped their passports and left, there was only me waiting there as an abandoned child. After one hour and I am not exagerating,not at all, the woman returned me my passport and said that it is okay now.
I took my lovely backpack which accompanies me on roads, crossed bridge between Colombia and Ecuador and I saw a billboard saying: Bienvenidos en Ecuador!
Once again migration and stamps and then I took taxi to border city of Tulcán and from there another 3 hours to get to Otavalo, a nice largely indigenous town in the Imbabura Province.