Day 750 (18.04.09)
It was distinctly possible that we'd leave the Otavalo market looking more like 80's weathermen than backpackers due to the mountains of brightly coloured llama covered jumpers on offer there. Thankfully our knitwear tastes are a lot more tame than those of the TV meteorologists of our childhoods but we nevertheless managed to overdose on woollen items in the short time that we spent there.
We left Quito early and jumped on a bus to Otavalo, north of the city and normally around 2 hours drive away. It took longer than that today as we got held up by what looked like a large bike race on the winding mountain roads leading to the market town.
We eventually arrived to find the market in full swing and set off to wander our way through the maze of stalls filling the streets and squares of this busy little town. Saturday sees the largest turnout of both vendors and shoppers so we were lucky with our timing but apparently the market runs, at a smaller level, every day except Sunday.
Amongst a few tourists, indigenous locals were swarming around with the ladies in traditional outfits consisting
of long wrap around skirts held up with patterned belts, embroidered white blouses and rows of golden necklaces encircling their necks and the guys with long black braids hanging from beneath dark felt hats. It was a great place to potter around as we simultaneously watched the townsfolk go about their daily lives and pored over the seemingly endless supply of multi-coloured crafts on sale.
Amongst hammocks, bags, blankets, those weatherman jumpers and many other forms of souvenir we managed to find ourselves some very toasty looking ponchos, a jumper or two and a few other bits and bobs. Now that we have only a few weeks of our trip left we'd decided that it wasn't really worth posting a big parcel home and had planned to just lug around the things that we buy from now on...we might change our minds when we add today's haul to our already bulging backpacks though!
We had some excellent lunch carved straight from a whole roast pig and continued our meanderings until we felt that we'd seen and bought enough. We then caught the bus back to Quito and enjoyed our last evening on the terrace at the Secret Garden.
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