As I take some time to stew on a more in depth, thought-provoking post, I wanted to share some of the beautiful country in which we are blessed to live. One of the commitments we have made while residing here in Ecuador is taking time to explore.
We have been able to travel to a number of different areas, and Otavalo has been a convenient destination. Just a few hours from Quito, it touts the largest South American open air market, with vendors selling their wares for blocks and blocks every Saturday. Like any trip, the journey is part of the experience, almost more so than the destination.
In the past three or so times we have traveled to this gem, we’ve taken different routes, stayed at a rustic cabin, explored surrounding towns, and felt immersed in the culture. The town of Cayambe, near the same-named volcano, boasts bizcochos. Best when taken straight from the wood ovens, they are served with caramel, cheese, and what I would term “clotted cream”. Similar to biscotti in the United States, they are worth the early morning stop on the way to the market.
On one of our adventures, Brad found us a cozy little one room cabin…rustic, but comfy. We had to follow an old railroad track as a road, and put the truck into four wheel drive to get up the hill, but the view of the Imbabura volcano and Lago San Pablo (San Pablo Lake) along with the neighboring rugged Cotacachi volcano were worth the tense moments. Complete with a shepherdess who walked by twice a day, and a cute little dog to entertain, we also shared breakfast with the family who owned the cabin as they made us scrambled eggs with bread, cheese, and juice for the low cost of $1.50 a person. Short of the 3:00am wake up call to market for the entire village of San Rafael, it was a great opportunity to share a bit with the culture we are immersed with on a daily basis.
A quick stop at Peguche Falls on the outskirts of Otavalo:
The views of Otavalo, San Vincente, Cotacachi, and Laguna de Cuicocha:
The beautiful people of Ecuador:
Jacob, on our most recent trip, was able to finally purchase a charango…basically, a ten stringed instrument which would most closely resemble a cross between a mandolin and a ukulele. Hand crafted by the hugely talented artisan Santiago Ayala at La Casa del Bandolin/Intrumentos Ayala, this heirloom will always be a precious reminder of our time here in this country. Taking time to play it at one of our favorite restaurants on the lake at San Pablo, while overlooking Imbabura, is a memory that will be relished for quite some time.
Finally, heading back to Calacali, we took the road less traveled via Perucho and San José de Minas. This road is not highly used due to its cobblestone base…but it is shorter in distance, with curves that twist and turn on themselves, full of amazing vistas and sweeping views. A quick stop in Perucho for mandarina juice, and our trip is complete.
We pray we will forever be thankful for these opportunities in front of us, and that we can be faithful to the call that is on our hearts…trusting in the One who guides us on this adventure, wherever it may lead.
Click here for an assortment of online Otavalo market pictures, showing the market in its full Saturday glory…