ecuador, part 3
ecuador, part let's finish this

ecuador, part 4

i'm almost done. i swear. but ... it was 10 days. that's a lot of stuff to cover.

the trip to otavalo was a really great day. the ride there was through some amazing topography ... we were coming out of the altitude of quito through these strange hills of the andes, so dry and desert-like, and many are covered with this odd industrial run-off material. it was such an unusual landscape that we were all captivated by what was out the window. half an hour into the ride, we pulled off the road at an overlook and took in our surroundings.

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another half an hour down the road, the landscape started to get more green. steve had heard from someone that there is a great place to eat just outside of otavalo, off the main road but near a lake. we decided to find it, and once we did, we were all so glad. to say "a little place by the lake" is such an understatement to describe what we found. the view left us all a little speechless and giddy.

 

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the restaurant, which was part of a resort of small cabins, was literally on the edge of this lake, with the hill directly across from us. as we sat and ate, all we could see was the water and this amazing hill rising up from it. at lovely as the hills and mountains of quito are, i'm a water girl, and didn't realize how much i need to see water until we got to this place. my soul was instantly happy.

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we reluctantly tore ourselves away after lunch, and finished our trek to otavalo so we could check out the market.

 

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when marc and i were dating, i would often hear his family talk about the "otavalo indian market," but i had no idea what to expect. the center of town fills with booths full of textiles and sweaters and crafts and art, and the storefronts surrounding the market open up to sell food and other home goods. the people are incredibly friendly, but they are also relentless in their quest to get you to buy something. i had gone into it with the thought that i wasn't going to haggle; the price they asked was the price they wanted to get. however, when a blanket at one stall is $25, and two stalls over the same blanket goes for $11, you soon learn to find out what their best offer is.

(though it blew my mind every time that i would refuse an amazing, silky alpaca wool blanket for $18. i mean ... i would have bought 20.)

 

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 i was glad we'd chosen to go on a week day, when it was way less crowded. henry had already decided this was his least favorite activity of the trip so far, and after an hour of looking through the same sort of items over and over, your eyes start to glaze over. but we all found a few things to make us happy - marc, a soccer shirt; harper, an alpaca jacket; henry, a wooden bowl with an indian head painted on it; and i did get a couple of blankets and a silver ring - so it was a successful trip. after a quick stop for water at a place with an actual bathroom, we got back in the van to head home.

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and that was otavalo.

one more part, and i think this story will be finished.

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