October 5th 2011

After our wonderful night inPasto, and really not wanting to get out of bed at7am, we visited the Laguna de la Cocha in the morning before heading off toEcuador. The laguna is supposed to be the largest inColombiaand renown for its amazing trout. We walked around the little cute village and had a trout soup. We also had “chocolate con queso”, which is hot chocolate and cheese. At first the idea of it did not seem appealing at all, but it is actually really nice!

The crossing toEcuadorwas quite a milk run. We took a bus fromPasto,Colombiato the town near the border called Ipiales. Then a mini bus to migration, got a stamp out of the country, walked to the other building to get stamped intoEcuador. Then another mini bus to the town ofTulcan,Ecuador, and a bus from there to our final destination of the day: Otavalo. We arrived and stayed at a hostel, which cost 5$! Yahoo! The next day we had a weird one…we each did our own internet stuff in the morning, went for breakfast, and walked around. Otavalo is normally famous for its gigantic market on Saturdays. There is a market every day in the plaza, just smaller. We walked around it and it was funny how they all wanted us to buy something, would tell us to be the first sale of the day, that they would give us a good price etc. We just looked at the crazy amount of stands and stuff, I can’t imagine how crazy Saturdays must get! Then we went back to the hostel and the event of the day happened: I was trying to lock my laptop into Cosima’s backpack, and ended up locking the keys into the backpack. B-R-A-V-O. The funniest and most interesting part was us trying to explain to the people what had happened and trying to get directions to a key man, so that he could open it up, without breaking the bag and if possible without breaking the lock. We managed and it was a success!

Later on, we met up with our couchsurfer named Julio. He took us to this documental film. We arrived in a little town called Peguche, and were the only tourists there. It was outside underneath a big roof projecting on a screen. The introduction was really nice: typical music with two girls dressed in the traditional dress dancing. On this note, the women dress really nicely: long black skirt, white shirt with embroideries, weaved belt, lots of goold beads and red beaded bracelets. They all have long black, smooth looking hair too! The documentary was really interesting. It was about the first Ecuadorian weaver/musician travelers from Otavalo and the evolution and changes in their art through time.

Then we went to the main plaza and had a warm raspberry juice, which is my new obsession. I already have a thing for raspberries so this, was just the best! Plus it gets cold in the mountains and it was perfect!

The next day we went to the Cascada de Peguche with Julio, which is a nice waterfall. In the afternoon, we visited a laguna nearby and it rained just as we were leaving! We had a few beers and made some banana pancakes with Julio that evening. It was a tiring but awesome day! On our last day, in the morning we did a few last minute purchases, sent so

me stuff by mail to our friends and family, went to the mirador to see the town and for a drive in the mountains, had some lunch and headed for a 2h bus ride toQuito!

So far, the Ecuadorian people are the nicest. They are smiley, helpful and just in general very nice. When we arrived toQuito, a girl told us to take the bus (which was 25cents, rather than a 8-10$taxi!) told us the name of our stop and even told the bus driver where we were going! Then, on the bus, the man sitting next to me chatted until he got off. A woman sat next to me afterwards and we talked, and then the two other girls sitting in front all started talking too; mainly about how to get to where I was going, it was funny and they were all really nice and helpful. Our hostel is right near a big plaza, close to all the bars and the action, however, we did not feel like going out and decided to keep our energy for the weekend!

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