July 14th Ecuador

by - July 17, 2018

We got up around 8 AM to meet Pierre at the animal market in Otavalo.  Our airbnb is about a 25 minute walk from everything, but at $10 a night we are not bothered by it.  Otavalo isn't the most beautiful town nor is it touristy, but we like it as is.  The weather and the change of scenery has been great in Ecuador.  We are now wearing jackets and pants and we welcome it.  The town is in the Andean highlands and is surrounded by volcanos.  

The animal market was quite an experience as we were the only gringos there.  We can't quite imagine eating guinea pig as a main part of our diet, but we are also intrigued to try it at some point in Ecuador.  It was very hard to watch the animals crammed in such small spaces and even more sad to see them alive stuffed into sacks.  Most of the food looked pretty awful and smelled even worse.  We only tried cheese empanadas and a hot blackberry drink.  The soups had every part of the animal in them and smelled of barnyard when you walked passed them.

After we had enough of the animal market we headed to the town square for the famous market in Otavalo.  It was a great time.  There were not too many people and the stands were filled with many different items.  There was everything you could think of made from alpaca, jewelry, fruits, vegetables, etc.  I found my new favorite item of clothing.  It's a poncho made from alpaca.  Bart found a gray(go figure) sweater made from alpaca as well.  

We also bought food for dinner.  The three of us had lunch at Balcon de Imbabura.  After that we walked about 7 miles round trip up to San Pablo lake.  We got a nice view of the Imbabura volcano and decided we might climb it while in Otavalo.  We had a nice pit stop at a restaurant up there and then walked to the Condor Park.  We thought it was overpriced and they also said they had animals in cages so we skipped it.  We are doing our best to skip things that resemble a zoo.  Bart made a nice dinner at the airbnb and I chatted with a guy named Habib who is from Ecuador but lives in Michigan.  I guess he is the cousin of the airbnb owner.  After a couple of glasses of wine we called it a day.

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