The long haul- Otavalo to Bogota

for my last day in ecuador, it was a saturday and i really wanted to hit up the otavalo markets- they are some of the biggest and a lot of vendors get together on a saturday to sell their wares to tourists and locals alike- there is also a pretty famous animal market for locals on this day. you can see anything from guinea pigs to chickens, to pigs and puppies being sold at this one- it's worth a look. the day i got there though it had been closed due to it being not clean enough- but all the locals had come in from around the place anyway, so there was still a little bit of a market going which was good to see. after the market, i stayed the night in otavalo- cool little town, it felt really safe and had some cute little hidden restaurants to check out. the guy below was amongst a crowd waiting outside the church in the main square where a couple had just got hitched- a lot of the men and women had these beautiful plaits down their backs- i wished i could grow my hair that long! 

the next morning after the market, i caught a bus to tulcan from a road on the outskirts of otavalo (tulcan is the border town to colombia). this is a 4 hour trip- be prepared though, the movie that played was a tom hanks film, the green mile- i walked onto the bus to a guy being electrocuted in the electric chair back in 1930's america, with little kids sitting on their mum's laps, eyes glued to the screen- slightly weird scene and if i'm honest, i was slightly freaked by this first look at the film on my way to the colombian border. 

but moving on. got to the colombian border and met a couple who were going to check out this famous cemetery in tulcan before crossing, so i decided to join them. this cemetery is apparently known for it's sculpted hedges which dot themselves throughout the grounds. having said this, it was the layout of the graves that got me. 

a few years back, i was travelling in basque country (spain) along the coast between bilbao and mundaka. we stopped one night in this coastal town and set up the car for sleeping next to this park. on the other side was the coast, so we went for a walk to stretch our legs and found a cemetery which looked out onto some wild steep cliffs and a roaring ocean beyond. i was amazed. the coffins were stacked in clear boxes, one on top of the other like apartments. like nothing i'd ever seen before. and i haven't seen since. before now. this was what i saw in spain, on a mammoth scale. it felt like streets, lined with coffins placed in buildings with windows at the front commemorating the person within. 

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so after this quick stop, we headed to the border. you get in what's called a 'collective' (a collective taxi) and they drive you to the border. stamped out of ecuador, stamped into colombia and with some colombian pesos in our pockets, we crossed the border and headed the 10 minute taxi trip to the ipiales bus station. i booked a bus to bogota and from there, hopped on a few hours later to begin a 22 hour bus trip to the colombian capital. it was a big 2 days.