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We left the streets of Quito and hit the road today.  It wasn’t a windshield tour, we were out of the car too much.  But we covered a lot of territory thanks to Grace’s family.

Our goal was Otavala, a colonial town north of Quito that is renowned for huge Saturday market.

Although the town itself seemed charming with its stained glass windows, we made our way through the streets teeming with people and headed straight for the market.  I know we didn’t see it all.

Colorful weavings were stacked in groups of colors and patterns as far as we could see.  But there’s more: jewelry, rugs and throws of fur, leather, food, and all manner of clothing made from wool.

When Renan (Grace’s exchange father) heard that I was looking for a virgen, we headed for San Antonio, a muy tranquilo village built around a zócalo.  Lovely wood furniture was displayed in open shops on the streets.  There were rows of tiendas displaying the wood sculptures of animals, whimsical people and serious religious icons of the different churches of Ecuador.

Renan wanted us to see everything.  We stopped to see the view of the Lago San Pablo, the lake at the foot Imbabura volcano.                                                              We stopped at the equator again.  I seemed strange until I realize that it’s a line, not a point.  We can travel around a cross it over and over again.  Go figure!

I think it was Ibarra where we stopped at one of the

Is there ever a good photo of people eating?

restaurants with a huge sign advertising, “Fritadas”.   Each restaurant was surrounded by cars and packed with people eating from this huge dish of steamed potatoes, fried potato balls, fried corn, hominy corn and choclo, a large kernelled corn on the cob along with queso, and topped with carne de cancho (pork) and quartered avocados.  One platter easily fed five of us.

Toward evening we  enjoyed pedaling a small whale, one of  the whimsical boats in La Laguna de Yahuarcocha It was especially interesting because Grace’s Ecuatoriana grandmother had told us of the lago de sangre.  We had heard the story of the bloody battle of the indigenas with the Incas in which so many men were killed that the lake turned red.

Even good days must end.

Ours ended with another food hotspot.  As we wended our way through horrid holiday traffic we all voted to stop  in Cayambe which is famous for Bizchochos,  an Ecuadorian biscotti.

Hasta pronto