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Otavalo and onwards to Colombia

So Saturday is the day for Otavalo, the whole town gets filled full of market stalls and tourists. We got up super early to see the animal market, which was a uniquely Andean experience. A big field full of locals in their traditional dress trying to flog guinea pigs (to eat), normal pigs, sheep cows- everything. So the experience involved a lot of dodging animal shit, and a lot of screaming pigs that were a bit pissed off about being tied up and slung in the back of a van.

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After that cultural experience, we wandered back into the main town which was full of market stands. The center of the market occupied the main plaza and its surrounding four plazas, but the overspill covered the entire town. It was huge! However, while it was fun wandering round and watching the locals all dressed up and bustling around, the stuff on offer wasnt really all that different to what was avaliable in previous Andean towns. Just a lot more of it.
By around 10 we had seen about everything and since our visa for Ecuador expired that day, hopped on a series of busses to the Colombian frontier. The journey took up the rest of the day and by the time we arrived in Ipiales we had just about enough time to check into a hostel before dark. We did manage to find the cheapest room so far in our entire trip, which cost just $8,000 colombian pesos- which works out at $2US each. Bargain.
The only real reason that people stop over in Ipiales is (apparently) to visit the Santuario de las Lajas, a church just outside town, so we decided we might as well see it since we were there. The church was built to commemorate this time when the image of ┬┤the virgen de las lajas┬┤ appeared in a big rock in a cliff. What theyve done is build a bridge across the ravine to the rock (in other words a dead end bridge) in the cliff face, and then whack a big church on top of it. It actually looks quite cool, the church is a cool looking neo-gothic thing, and the church is built up against the cliff, with no rear wall, so that the rock (which now has the image painted on to it) forms the main altar. Quite clever. The views from the bridge were good too.

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Posted by St Martins 06:30 Archived in Colombia Tagged travelling_with_pets

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