Otavelo is famous for it`s market. It is one of the most important centres for ethno tourism and it`s enormous saturday market features a dazzling array of textiles, crafts, produce and livestock. The Otavelenos people are Andean in their looks. The Otavelo men wear their hair long and plaited under a black trophy hat. They wear white calf length trousers and blue ponchos. The womens colourful costumes consist of embroided blouses, shoulder wraps and a plethora of gold necklace beads. Their ankle length skirts are fastened with an intricate woven cloth belt. The women carry their children in a sling on their backs. A lot of the people wear panama hats as this is produced in Ecuador (and not Panama !).
We had set the alarm for 07.00 but Nick was a donut and when changing the time the night before had put the wrong time in so the alarm didn`t go off ! We awoke at 8am and after a quick breakfast we got a taxi to the bus terminal. There was a bus waiting to take us to Otavelo and we hopped on and paid our $2 each. The journey took 2.5 hours (there was a lot of slow driving along at the beginning trying to pick up extra passengers).
After asking our way we found the start of the market. We immediately found a few paintings we liked but (unfortunately) decided to wait until we had seen the rest of the market (the stall had gone by the time we returned). We carried on into the heart of the market at Plaza de Ponchos where all the textiles and arts & crafts were. It was a bit touristy but a lot of the locals were shopping around as well. We then carried on to find the produce market as we were told it shut at 2pm. There were loads of stalls selling fruit, vegetables and meat. Most of these were situated in the Mercado 24 Mayo. It was good to just wander around and pay a few cents for the fruit.
We ended up in the Plaza Bolivar where there is a statue of Ruminahui, Atahualpa`s general. We sat and watched the locals milling around before carrying on. As we approached Plaza de Ponchos again we saw a good restaurant called El Indo and we decided to have a bite. We shared a plate of grilled chicken and the local speciality, Fritada (fried pork). It was all good. With renewed energy we trawled the stalls, occasionally trying out our bargaining skills (which need to be improved !!!). We did manage to get a nice bag and a set of gold necklace beads (for Monica) at good prices.
By 4pm we were knackered and took the bus back to Quito. The views were good and we saw the volcano Rucu Pichincha.