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Otavalo and the Line of the Equator

Otavalo, Cayambe, Quitaso Sundial (the Line of the Equator) and Quito


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Day trip today to Otavalo and the line of the Equator.

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On arrival at Otavalo bus terminal I helped two Canadian tourists who didn't know how to get to the handicraft market and had no map - I said they could join me and Dave because we were going that way and I'd been there before so I knew my way around. It was nice to help out. Once they'd left us, Dave and I carried straight on to the animal market. Although people were packing up, there were more animals than when I was there in April with Emma, Kate etc. Llamas in one open-backed truck, pigs being hauled into another, loads of ducklings, chickens, guinea pigs, geese and some rabbits.

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It was a very hot day, so after leaving the animal market we walked along one side of the daily market and then headed to the church to sit inside in the coolness and rest for a little bit out of the hubbub. As we walked in a recording of the famous waltz by Strauss started playing really loudly - slightly surreal given the surroundings. Dave sat down, I moved off to go outside to the public toilets, but then I noticed a girl in a bright pink dress standing at the main doors ready to go down the aisle, surrounded by her family who were also dressed to the nines! There was only a very light sprinkling of people in the pews. We made a swift but discreet exit and sat on a bench outside in the shade, instead.

After I'd been to the loo and we'd both had a bit of a sit down and a drink, we moved on to the handicrafts market. It spread out even further along the side streets than it had done in April. As well as handicrafts, it contained stalls selling fresh fruit and vegetables, spices, bread rolls, flours, maize, beans and pulses. We bought ourselves a lovely colourful woven holdall each, I got myself some new alpaca gloves and a lovely leather belt with a colourful woven pattern going down the middle lengthways, and Dave got himself two shirts with a pattern on the front.

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After leaving the market we had a quick, very late lunch at a cafe - a humita, a sandwich each and a quimbolito (like a sweet version of a humita, but with an even more spongey texture).

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Then we jumped on the first bus we came across with the destination 'Cayambe' displayed on the front windscreen... the purpose of this being to get to the line of the Equator.

The bus journey from Otavalo to Cayambe took just over an hour and cost only 75 cents. At Cayambe we took a taxi three kilometres down the road to Quitsato Sundial, where I had been before in April. We received the same interesting talk as I had done then (see this blog post here for the details of that), looked round and took some pictures.

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Once we got back to Quito we rested for a bit before going out to a Middle Eastern restaurant for dinner. It was very similar to the shawarma places in Guayaquil. I enjoyed my chicken shawarma wrap but Dave wasn't so keen on one or two of the things he got on his mixed plate. A couple on the table next to us were smoking hookahs provided by the restaurant.

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Posted by 3Traveller 10:11 Archived in Ecuador Tagged market buses dave quito otavalo andes ecuador cayambe ecuadorian_cuisine quitsato_sundial the_equator Comments (0)

Easter Saturday at the Equator: Cayambe and Quitsato Sundial

Cayambe, Quitsato Sundial, the Line of the Equator and Quito


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We were only in Cayambe for about twenty minutes because we were there to get a taxi to our next destination. We did however make sure to buy some 'biscochos', the town's speciality. These are very buttery biscuits sold in fingers. Then on to the line of the Equator! The Quitsato Sundial is at the roadside about 3km south of Cayambe, on the road to Quito. This place is very untouristy in comparison to the much more famous Mitad Del Mundo complex, which is a tourist trap and peddles several equator myths as if they are facts. The Quitsato Sundial is much more scientific.

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The sundial is huge; big enough to walk around on. I would guess the diameter to be about 50 metres. We had a talk (in English) about the site and about the work of the Quitsato Project. We found out such interesting information as the fact that from the Equator you can see all the constellations visible in both hemispheres, that many pre-Inca sites have been discovered in the area that align exactly with the position of the sun at various equinoxes etc., that the Equator runs right through Volcano Cayambe (a snow-covered peak that we could see from where we were standing), and that the word 'north' means 'left' and is so called because it is on your left as you face east, the direction of the rising sun.

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After the talk we couldn't resist taking photos of us standing with a foot in each hemisphere, standing on the exact Equator, etc., some including a post at the centre of the sundial that announces that it is at 0 degrees latitude.

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To get back to Quito we flagged down a passing bus and jumped on. It was around 7:30 by the time we got back to the hostel.

For dinner Emma, Mark, Andrew and I went to a Cuban restaurant round the corner, but it wasn't a great experience because the service was so incredibly slow, despite the fact that there was only one other group of customers there. I've been in Ecuador for nearly a year now and have never experienced service that slow before. My rice pudding was lovely but the portion was very small.

Posted by 3Traveller 10:18 Archived in Ecuador Tagged mountains hostel sisters quito andes ecuador cayambe ecuadorian_cuisine quitsato_sundial the_equator easter_celebrations Comments (0)

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