Monday, October 17, 2011

Trip to Saraguro, Part 1

On Sunday, yes, we walked.  But not in Cuenca.

We hit the road again, this time with our friends, Bruce, Charlie and Fabian. 
Several of our friends have raved about their trips to the Saraguro area.  It sounded like fun, so we had to go, too.  It is known for so much history and crafts and the Sunday market. 

Saraguro is like a trip into the past.  Very Incan, pre-Spanish.  Folks live like their ancestors did hundreds of years ago.  Big agricultural, very family-oriented community.

The people are also known as the 'black wool people'. There are several theories of why folks wear black.  One is that the people are in mourning for their homeland in Bolivia and Peru (they were relocated to Ecuador by the Spanish in the 1500's).  Another theory relates to their mourning for a great Incan leader killed by the Spanish.  You can google for more theories.  Some theories pre-date the Spanish.  We think perhaps they wear black wool because their sheep are black!  (Probably over-simplifying.)

Here are pictures of our road trip on the way.  You can see the beautiful Andes. 

We think we hit about 10,000 ft altitude in some places.  It was windy and cold. 

It felt like there should be some snow on the ground.

You can see the highway is in great shape for driving!

Always interesting to see the variety of plants and geology.

Here we are, shivering.  Our jackets were in the car and we stopped for just a few minutes to enjoy the views.

We passed a sheep farm.  Fabian shared that besides traditional sheep, some Ecuadorians raise African sheep.
(It's the brown one in this picture.) 

At first, we thought it was a goat.  African sheep have hair, rather than the familiar wool, and they are raised mostly for the meat.

A big corn at the entry to Saraguro.

Our friend, David, wrote a very interesting article about this community. You can read here:

We're posting our trip in stages so we can share more pictures...stay tuned for the animal market, the town and shopping.

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