Published: November 2nd 2009November 1st 2009
OK, so Saquisili Market was great, outstanding, excellent ... Otovalo Market was just as good (even maybe a tiny bit better!). We were sceptical about Otovalo, it's on the main package tourist trail and we thought the whole market might now be focused on the tourist trade. Since we weren't in the market for nik naks we weren't sure this market was for us.
But first, let me tell you, the town of Otovalo is really nice. Filled with good quality local shops, a couple of lovely plazas and churches, loads of restaurants and a great, friendly feel to it. Our hotel, Riviera Sucre, was beautiful, with rustic mural painted rooms set around a central courtyard and polished wooden floors. The owner of the hotel got hold of Amy as soon as she could for a squeeze - Amy loved the attention ofcourse. Early to bed that night as we were up early to go to the animal market which opened at 6.00am.
The animal market, a kilometre of so from town, was chaotic, smelly and crowded. First there was the cute and cuddly puppies, kittens, bunnies, guinea pigs, you name it - presumably there were being sold as
pets ... we hope. They generally looked quite healthy although many much too young to be sold - they should be with their mums. We loved looking at the gorgeous creatures, but it was sad too to see them being sold this way.
Onwards to the pigs - squealing, snorting, rolling about in the mud. Some people holding 10 or more piglets on ropes. There were cows too, all looking pretty nervous as I'm pretty sure they weren't going to be someone's pet!
Leaving the animal market by 8.00am we headed through the fruit and veg which was fascinating and great quality - Tescos could do with purchasing from these Ecuadorian markets! We bought pineapple and watermelon pieces to munch on until we could find some breakfast. We passed on the breakfasts the locals were eating which consisted of tripe and intestine stew with a few peas or beans.
The craft stalls drew us in and before we knew it we'd bought a cute indian doll for Amy, a pencil case and also a crocheted hat for her. All up it was $5 - we didn't even bargain hard for that, it's just reasonable in the first
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Otovalo's market is the traditional costume. Most people are dressed in traditional manner on market day, very neat and some quite elaborate. People were less "dusty" than at Saquisili's Market, but that is probably a result of wealth brought by tourism in part. They seemed to take enormous pride in their attire - unlike us scruffy tourists!
This weekend everyone was buying up colourful decorated loaves of bread for the Day of the Dead. We bought one and after Amy attempted to eat it decided it was more for decoration than anything.
Back on the bus for our 2 hour trip to Quito. Once in Quito, we headed off by taxi to Mitad del Mundo (The Meridian Line Museum). We probably expected more from it, but we enjoyed a couple of hours there. The best things was the giant bugs and the photoshoot. It's always good to visit the equator when you get a chance I guess.
Checking back into Cafe Cultura, they'd given us Room 2 which is perhaps the best in the house. It's beautiful and comfy. A dinner of steak and a glass of red and
we were content for the night.
There are more photos below