It was a rather long drive to get there from Quito (approximately 1 and a half hours) but it was definitely an amazing experience. We were able to try bizcochos which I would describe as a dry, pastry-like biscuit.
From there we went to the animal market which from other's descriptions sounded like it was dusty and there were lots of animals such as squealing pigs on ropes. I did not participate in this experience due to allergies but instead waited in the van with our driver Jaime and people watched. The variety and mix between rich and poor, traditional and modern is something unseen in New Zealand.
Up next, el mercado de ponchos. I LOVED this market and wished that I didnt have to make my money or space in my bag last 6 months but I know there will be more opportunities. The colours and the hustle and bustle of the market were truly amazing. Around the edges and outside of the market it was busy and noisy and there were people everywhere but when you ventured into the middle of the market it was quiet and there were fewer people which I really enjoyed.
After exploring the bright and colourful poncho market and making a few small purchases we went to a small restaurant on the edge of the market where we had lunch. Lunch was a lentil/potato soup to start, meat (pork, chicken or beef) with rice and potatoes as a main and a small piece of brownie with icecream for dessert. I am coming to discover that rice is very common here in Ecuador and there are few green/colourful vegetables.
After lunch we travelled to La Cascada de Peguche (Peguche Waterfall) which was simply stunning and set amongst the most beautiful nature. A few of the girls were brave enough to swim in the Sacred Incan Waters, myself not being one of them haha but the waterfall itself was the best part. Set amongst lush greenery seemingly far from the town it was a wonderful and tranquil place. Although, avoiding the local kids who walked around spraying foams as part of carnaval tradition was not easy. They would hide around corners or in bushes or merely just walk past you and spray you with espuma de carnaval (foam) running away in fits of giggles. There was no way you could get mad at them! It was super cute and good luck apparently.
We then had a long drive back to Quito where we had dinner at home and Ruby (volunteer also staying with me) and I watched a movie before going to bed.
Missing home but enjoying Ecuador.