DAYTRIP TO GUAMOTE
Last week, we got an invitation from the Inti Sisa Art Guesthouse to visit their hotel in Guatome. Guamote is a little mountain village in central Ecuador, about an hour south of Riobamba. The majority of the village is indigenous and Kichwa is still one of the main languages spoken by its inhabitants.
We met at 5.45 o’clock and left for Guamote at around 6 a.m. We were travelling with a mixed group of tour operators who were interested in the new hotel concept which was developed in Guamote. After about 4 hours of driving through beautiful scenery and a lot of catching up on sleep we arrived at the animal market of Guamote, our first stop.
The market was incredible, bustling with people dressed in colorful and traditional clothes. The first part of the market is meant for large animals. The market place was made mainly of concrete but the ways there were covered with mud. Cows were mooing and sheeps bleating. At the one corner two bulls were trying to fight as much as their short chains would allow it and large pigs tried to resist walking to the places they were meant to go. At some point you could see three of four grown man struggling to put the adult pig back in the trunk of their pickup. It was a bizarre scene and definitely something you would not find in Germany.
The people on the market seemed really nice, they smiled and waved at us and occasionally you could hear a “Hola, Gringos” but then people started laughing and you knew it was not meant in a bad way.
On the second part of the market, small animals were sold such as chicken, guinea pigs, rabbits and little pigs. It was fun to see the people arguing and comparing their animals to each other in order to agree on a price.
From there, we went to the education center which was established by the Inti Sisa Art Guesthouses foundation. The center included a kinder garden for 20 of the indigenous children where they could play with the toys and learn basic things. In the lower department of the sew room equipped with many sewing machines. Two ladies were working in the room and explained us that for only five dollars a quarter, they provide sewing workshops mainly for young women from the community.
Besides that, they explained us about different social project in the community such as supporting vets in the area to sterilize the street dogs since those are a problem in Guamote and donating money and goods to the local schools.
After that, we went to the hotel which must be one if the only accommodations providers in the village and was completely renovated recently. Afterwards, we got some delicious food and went to the street market which was rather small.
One thing there is to say about Guamote is that its an incredible place, were tradition still plays an important role in the everyday life of its inhabitants who are proud of their heritage.
At around 3 p.m. we made our way back to Quito and arrived at approximately 7.30 p.m.
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