Today we left the city of Quito and moved north to Otavalo with a few stops for pictures. Otavalo lies in a valley and is known for the proud heritage of the indigenous people. It is also home to one of the largest artisian markets in the world and shopping consumed most of our day. We roamed the market bargaining in broken Spanish for brightly colored alpaca products, bags, tapestries, souvenirs and much more. Our guide, Dave arranged for us to have a traditional lunch consisting of potato and cabbage soup, rice, beans, a choice or meat or eggs, banana cake, and pineapple or papaya juice. Afterwards, the shopping continued and we all left the market with suitcases, a little fuller and wallets a little emptier.
We will spend the next 2 nights at La Luna, a mountain lodge up a long dirt road with stunning views of the surrounding mountains and volcanos. We returned a bit early for a night of rest, reflection, and group discussion before an early morning tomorrow.
The Hillel team wishes Elissa Schwartz (Lauren’s madre) a very happy birthday!