Saturday morning Emily and I headed 2 hours north of Quito to the small town of Otavalo, known mostly for its Saturday Market (the biggest in South America). The bus ride there was short and sweet, with some nice views, as seen below!
Once we got there we dove right into the market. It was huge and so easy to get lost in – but I didn’t mind. I love shopping.
I loved seeing the Otavalan people in their traditional clothing. They’re apparently the most properous indigenous group in South America though!
There was a LOT of llama stuff. I’m sad though because I haven’t even seen a llama here yet!
I got some pretty good deals using my previously non-existant haggling skills. I did research online ahead of time and saw that, especially if you’re a foreigner like me, they’ll up the price to twice as much as usual so you have to bargain. So my rule of thumb was to ask for half of what they quoted and work my way to a deal. Most of the stuff was pretty cheap, but I did ask about this one tiny, tiny elephant that was made out of opal (my birthstone) and it was $55. What?! The silver jewelry was about $15 a necklace, scarves could be bought for under $5, and little knick knacks could be haggled down to a dollar. I won’t post what I bought here because most of it is gifts for family and friends who read this, but I did get a buddha necklace (super random but really cute!) for $3 for myself, along with some Otavalan dolls ($2 each) and shakers made out of gourds for my future classroom ($3 each).
For lunch we went to a pizzeria and I got a Pizza Blanca for $3.50 (steal!!!). It was so good. It had onions and garlic and oh my I was in heaven. For dinner that night we went to another Italian place (I know, I need to broaden my dining choices) and I got the same exact kind of pizza. Delicious again. This restaurant happened to be playing the Patriots-Ravens football game. In the middle of the Andes. In a little indigenous town. American football. But the Pats won! Woo!!
Our hostel for the night, Hosteria Rose Cottage, was amazing. It was a 3km taxi ride from the town center but it was so worth it… It was on the top of a hill overlooking the mountains and valleys and pictures just don’t do its surroundings justice.
The owner was very nice (and very British), there were animals on the property (yayyy!), and breakfast was included. What more could you ask for? Oh, and there were hammocks everywhere.
Emily and I booked two single rooms and had a whole little cottage to ourselves! We checked in after lunch, headed back to the market for a little while and to eat dinner, and came back around 6. I brought back my pizza bones for the three dogs at the hostel. They were so cute and so sweet but so skinny! I had to fatten them up. We also gave them Emily’s leftover pasta. And I gave them pretty much every scrap piece of food I could find.
That’s my babygirl Chincha. She was the sweetest little thing. I really wanted to take her back with me (sorry Dad).
One of my other puppies giving me kisses. Mis perritos queridos.
“Santa’s Little Helper” enjoying the view.
Here’s me giving kisses to the hostel’s donkey…
…and Exibit A of the owner’s Britishness:
I found this gem in the reception office. Haha!
One of the coolest things at the hostel (to me, at least) was this map of where people who have stayed there are from.
I put my pushpin in little ole Western Maryland, which I thought was in the middle of nowhere until I came to Ecuador and saw some places that reallyare in the middle of nowhere.
Emily and I spent the evening playing cards by the fire in the hostel’s restaurant. She won.
The next morning (this morning) we ate breakfast at 8 and set out on a hike to find the waterfall, Cascada Taxopamba, that was only an hour’s walk from the hostel. It was quite the hike, but definitely worth it. I’d never been that close to a waterfall that big!
I’m so tiny!!!
So that was my Otavalo trip. Now I’m starting my last week in Quito (wahhh) and planning next weekend’s trip to Banos. I don’t want to leave Ecuador!