Carnaval in Ibarra, weekend in Intag & Copa Libertadores


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South America » Ecuador » North » Ibarra
March 18th 2011
Published: March 19th 2011
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Carnaval in IbarraCarnaval in IbarraCarnaval in Ibarra

Parade advertising the upcoming carnical celebrations in Valle de Chota
Hi folks!

I've had a busy couple of weeks since my last blog and have managed to see a lot more of the northern highlands as well as a trip to the cloud forest in Intag which is quite possibly the most spectacular scenery I have ever scene...and I thought Scotland was green!!

The weekend of 5/6th March was "carnaval" weekend in Ecuador which basically entails lots of drink, lots of music, lots of dancing and lots of kids running around throwing water and shaving foam at each other (as well as at poor, unsuspecting foreign types!) I took a trip up to the colonial town of Ibarra, a beautiful town nestled in the northern highlands at the foot of the Valle (Valley) de Chota. Ibarra and Valle de Chota are populated, in the main, by the descendants of African slaves who were shipped over in colonial times. So the carnival music, dancing and dress had a distinctively African feel. The atmosphere was fantastic and the people were very welcoming.

And so to Intag! The following weekend I took a trip with two fellow volunteers and a local farmer friend to the Intag valley about 2 hours west
Carnaval in IbarraCarnaval in IbarraCarnaval in Ibarra

Ibarra carnival parade
of our farm. Intag is in the cloud forest region as the Andes begin to descend towards the coast. The climate is much warmer and humid than in the mountains and this makes for a a completely different crop profile in this region. The reason for our trip was to harvest avocado, pineapple, and lemons to complement the products that we sell from our farm (lettuce, celery, cauliflour, broccoli and such like) at the local market. Saturday was harvest day which was a hard slog - particularly given the that the crops were all growing on the steep inclines of the mountains. By far the highlight of the weekend however, was Friday evening watching the sun setting from our host's veranda overlooking the mountains and valleys of Intag with an ice cold beer in hand. I was pretty content with my lot I have to say! A couple of the locals joined us to set the world to rights over a couple of beers and a few of the local volunteers as well, one of whom, a German girl, had spent 6 years studying in Glasgow and knew Largs very well. So here I was, in quite possibly the most remote (and beautiful) place I'd been in my life, chatting about Byers Road, the Cumbrae Ferry and Troon Beach with a German lass. A surreal experience!


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Colnial IbarraColnial Ibarra
Colnial Ibarra

Cathedral in the centre of Ibarra
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Ibarra

Colourful statue which highlights the cultural diversity of the town and the surrounding region
IbarraIbarra
Ibarra

Plaza Pedro Moncayo, Ibarra
Simon Bolivar MonumentSimon Bolivar Monument
Simon Bolivar Monument

Monument commemorating the battle of Ibarra during which the legendary South American liberator freed the city from Spanish rule.
Simon Bolivar monumentSimon Bolivar monument
Simon Bolivar monument

"From the Simon Bolivar foundation of Ibarra to the memory of Simon Bolivar and his heroic army who triumphed in the ´Battle of Ibarra´ on 17 July 1823"
Carnaval, Valle de ChotaCarnaval, Valle de Chota
Carnaval, Valle de Chota

Football, volleyball and general mayhem in a mountain village in the Valle de Chota.
Carnaval, Valle de ChotaCarnaval, Valle de Chota
Carnaval, Valle de Chota

A couple of the locals soak up the atmosphere!
Carnaval, Valle de ChotaCarnaval, Valle de Chota
Carnaval, Valle de Chota

Traditional dancing during the carnival
Carnaval, Valle de ChotaCarnaval, Valle de Chota
Carnaval, Valle de Chota

Mixing with the locals...spot the Gringo!!
Carnaval, Valle de ChotaCarnaval, Valle de Chota
Carnaval, Valle de Chota

Traditional dress during the carnival
Carnaval, Valle de ChotaCarnaval, Valle de Chota
Carnaval, Valle de Chota

Colour, music, fun!
Carnaval, Valle de ChotaCarnaval, Valle de Chota
Carnaval, Valle de Chota

The locals stock up on muddy water for some more unsuspecting victims!
Liga de Quito V Peñarol, Copa LibertadoresLiga de Quito V Peñarol, Copa Libertadores
Liga de Quito V Peñarol, Copa Libertadores

My first football match in South America...I've been here almost 2 months - don't know what took me so long! I can only imagine its my dedication to my farm work and English teaching
Copa LibertadoresCopa Libertadores
Copa Libertadores

The game was in South America's equivalent of the Champions League and Liga de Quito won 5-0. Fantastic game though Peñarol didn´t look interested from the beginning. I think they had succumbed to the altitude as soon as they stepped of the bus...after all running around for 90 minutes at 3000m above sea level isn´t everyones idea of fun!
IntagIntag
Intag

The wonderful cloud forest of the Intag valley. Unfortunately I didn´t have my camera for my visit and so have had to steel this pic from the internet though I assure you this is more or less the view I had from our host's veranda on the Friday evening...imagine the sunset!!
Intag greenery!Intag greenery!
Intag greenery!

Walking through the valley I saw pretty much every shade of green imaginable. The scenery and the tranquility were breathtaking.
Intag greenery!Intag greenery!
Intag greenery!

The Intag region hit the headlines worldwide a few years ago in their war against multinational oil companies. The local communities took on, and beat, the might of the the oil industry! Hence the region is an "oil exploration free zone" with mile after mile of untouched forest.


19th March 2011

Great stuff!
Glad you are having such a good time - and have had no recurrence of the dreaded bug! Of course you had to drag in football!
19th March 2011

Aunt Frances, football is the spice of life in every South American country. I cannot possible get under the skin of these countries and properly explore their culture without dabbling in a bit of football...much more to come!
21st March 2011

Finally worked out how to read your blog!!
Hi Gordon Julie gave me your blog details, all seems an incredible experience, so pleased for you. Wonderful scenery John would say even more beautiful than Wales! Take care looking forward to hearing about Patagonia! Take care from all the Stourbridge family x
22nd March 2011
Carnaval, Valle de Chota

Well...
Which one's yours?
22nd March 2011

Hi Angela great to hear from you...I hope all the Prices and Kellys are well! Things are going great out here, thoroughly enjoying the farmwork and the teaching. Still a little while yet before I reach Patagonia...probably August, but don't worry, there will be a postcard in the post! I'll maybe meet you out there!! Love to all Gordon
22nd March 2011

Liam, the bloke obviously! Have you anything constructive to contribute?
5th April 2011

Great blog
Hi Gordan, I work with your mum on the cancer roadshow and she forwarded me your blog details. Your travels looks absolutely fantastic mate. I'm desperate to travel to South America, so i'll be following your blog with great interest to get some hints and tips. Happy and safe travels. Cheers Carl
5th April 2011

Great blog
Hi Gordan, I work with your mum on the cancer roadshow and she forwarded me your blog details. Your travels looks absolutely fantastic mate. I'm desperate to travel to South America, so i'll be following your blog with great interest to get some hints and tips. Happy and safe travels. Cheers Carl
6th April 2011

Hola!
Hi Carl good to hear from you. My mum has been telling me you've been keeping tabs on my travels! You've got to get yourself out here...there is just so much to see and the way of life is fantastic! Hope my mum's not working you too hard! Gordon

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