We decided upon an early start to cross the border into Ecuador. A shared taxi brought us the 2.5km to the frontier. Crossing the border was easier than expected. Twenty minutes; involving one form, two stamps and a walk across a bridge while batting away money changers. A collectivo took us to Tulcan and from there we picked up a coach to Otavalo.
We checked into Hostal Valle del Almanecer; a pleasant place surrounding a shaded courtyard.
We were pleased to hear that breakfast was included :o) It was Friday and we’d come for the Saturday market, but there seemed to be quite an extensive market in place at Plaza de Ponchos (!) already. We wandered round checking wares and getting an idea of prices. We met Barbara in the pie shop where we were mutually enjoying tasty American style pie with ice cream and coffee( …slurrrp) who told us that Saturday was much bigger with many more highland indians bringing in their goods. She also confirmed our decision not to stay in the Mariscal area when we got to Quito.
Saturday was another early start as the market starts well before 8am. Marvellous to see all the stalls and the traditional dress worn by many of the indians; don't think it's just for the tourists either. All the traders were really friendly and we managed some bargaining in low voices and we felt we got some good prices. My new alpaca jumper was $10.50 (~£7).
Otavalo felt one of the safest places we'd been and would have stayed a lot longer had time allowed.