Her smile says it all.


We were off to Quito to meet Krista and Scott, but the road from the border took us through Otavalo on the way. Jorge has fond memories of passing time here with friends thirty years ago. He remembers the Saturday market and camping in the mountains. He stills dreams about the delicious food they had when they arrived early one Saturday to have breakfast with the vendors as they were setting up for the day. We were excited to spend some time here and explore the colorful market and get to know the people.


iOverlander was the key once again as we found Matilda and Jose at Hostal Curiñan. High on the hill overlooking the town of Otavalo, we entered a courtyard with ample parking, an incredible view of the snow-capped peaks around us and a host of chickens, baby chicks and puppies. We set up our tent, made dinner and enjoyed an evening in the misty rain of the higher hills. We woke to a beautiful sunny morning with a clear view of the volcano Imbabura. We had just finished preparing our arepas and eggs and I was making hot chocolate and coffee when a large family of Quichua people visited our camp. They had come to have lunch with Matilda and Jose. They were not at all shy and we were more than thrilled to share our story with them. As they stood watching and listening, it was clear that they were interested in seeing ‘upstairs’ in the tent. One by one they took turns climbing the ladder to see our habitación. The looks of wonder and disbelief on the faces of people who had never been far from their own village was remarkable. In no time, the elders were sitting in our camp chairs, while the great aunt studied our table map. (Some of you know that Jorge and I have had a map in the garage for many years and have been drawing the route we would take on this trip. Before we left, Jorge made a small traveling table and we decoupaged the map onto the top.) She was completely spellbound with the map as we showed her where we were and from where we had come. Her smile was priceless as she realized the spot on the map was her home. We shared our traveling stickers and Jolly Ranchers with them, talked to their teenagers about school in the US, and explained our various kitchen utensils. The women especially enjoyed my small stainless measuring cups. They spent almost two hours with us that morning. As they said goodbye and wished us luck on our journey, Jorge and I realized that this is exactly what we had set out to do.

Today’s theme – Sharing our joy for adventure and making new friends.


  1. What a great way to have lunch and learn from the locals. I bet it was fun to see their faces when they saw your “upstairs”.


  2. Love your last statement about realizing that the sharing gave u so much joy (paraphrased). The views are spectacular, the adventures exhilarating but the people make the differences in our lives. Congrats on your wonder and wander to the max!!


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