Sunday, March 15, 2009

A quick visit to Ecuador

Last week I returned from a much-needed vacation to Ecuador. I say much-needed because given the nature of this work, I am always working: always on call, always a little tense, always anticipating the next crisis. For this vacation I really wanted to leave the country, because even when I'm in some other part of Colombia my phone is still on, Colombian news still reaches my eyes and ears, and I can't really turn off the tension. Luckily, the perfect opportunity fell into my lap: a friend traveling in Ecuador and a cheap plane ticket.

The highlight of the trip was a visit to Otovalo, a pueblo about two hours north of Quito. Otovalo is known for its Saturday crafts market, in which indigenous weavers and artisans come down from the mountains with their wares. The place is PACKED with bags, shawls, scarves, sweaters, necklaces, tableclothes... basically anything woven you could ever want. And yes, I did make a few purchases, in preparation for my upcoming move to chilly Bogota.

The smells, sounds and especially colors were incredible.

The next day we went up into the mountains above Otovalo to explore.

At over 12,000 feet, we discovered this gorgeous crater lake, surrounded by extinct and dormant volcanoes. Impressive, no? We considered climbing some of the volcanoes you see in the background, but the altitude kicked our butts too much and we settled for a more leisurely walk around the lake. Settled, of course, is relative, given the stunning beauty of the place.

Back in Quito, we stumbled across two blind musicians and there adoring fan as we explored the charming streets of colonial old-town.

No comments: