Hello All!!! Well as you may or may not know I left the animal centre a couple of days early for various reasons that I won´t go into now but it means that I have had a little bit of time to look around the north of the country and I have stationed myself in Otavalo.
Otavalo is beautiful. It´s located about two hours north of Quito and is famous for its Saturday market (today). Loads of villagers from around about come to sell their wares and the market is absolutely huge! I have no idea where to start with the shopping!! The handicrafts and traditions are very important in this area and lots of the men, women and children still wear traditional dress everyday. I had the opportunity to go visit two towns where you can see all the handicrafts being made. One town is renowned for its leather and the other has one workshop where they make traditional musical instruments - I never knew how many kinds of panpipes there were! - and another workshop where a man makes lovely tapestries on a traditional loom without electricity.
I also got to visit a crater lake and went for a walk round part of it up to a height of 3800m! The altitude was really making me breathless! The views were incredible. I went to a waterfall as well that is regarded as being sacred and lots of Shamans come and bathe in its waters at various times of the year and perform different rituals. It was really interesting. I´m going back to Quito tomorrow before heading to the Galapagos for my final stint of volunteering.
Take care, Love,