October 3, 2011

Daytrip to Otavalo and Cotocachi

Last weekend, we went with some teacher buddies to the artisan towns of Otavalo and Cotocachi. Otavalo was full of stands and vendors. You could find everything from alpaca sweaters and blankets to food to hammocks to wall hangings. And the market is huge!

It took us about 2 hours to see the majority of it. After awhile, you start to notice that everything looks similar. Otavalo was fun, but not really what Greg and I were expecting. We thought it would be more focused on local artisans and handmade items. Instead a lot of items were machine-made in a factory somewhere (maybe even in Bolivia as someone told me). It was still fun to browse and practice haggling. We ended up with an alpaca blanket for our bed, and a ball of yarn and two different fabrics for me.

My  yarn!
I think Greg fell in love with this ice bike.
After Otavalo, we stopped in Cotocachi, which is known for its leather goods. Greg and I found a little vegetarian cafe for lunch and then the shopping began! There was one whole street with shops lined up and down it just for all things leather.

I bought black leather boots and a little brightly colored change purse (which I then lost on the bus one of the first days I used it in Quito). Greg got himself a hacky-sack. After the shopping was done, we chilled out in the plaza of the town. Some people threw a frisbee around, which intrigued the local boys. Soon they had joined in the game and you really had to duck if you saw one of them with the frisbee. They had never seen one before and so their aim was off.

Overall, it was a very fun day and a worthwhile trip if you like markets.

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