Many of my friends have visited the Christmas markets of Germany and Scandanavia at this time of year and come back with some wonderful and original presents. I've always preferred to seek the sun as the days get colder and during a trip to Ecuador in October this year I was also determined to make the most of the shopping opportunities.
Anyone visiting South America will have experienced the amazing textiles, jewellery and handicrafts that are found in street stalls and open air markets, so it seemed a great opportunity to combine my holiday with a spot of retail therapy. With the dollar so strong, the prices seemed a snip compared to the more predictable shopping spree in New York.
I started off in the Marichal Sucre, the 'new town' of Quito where many tourists stay and found some amazing souvenir shops. Avenue Juan Mera, although not quite Bond Street, was a well trodden route for the souvenir hunter. Leaving nothing to chance I made a long list of sisters, parents, in-laws, teenage nieces and nephews to buy for, not to mention a few treats I hoped to find for myself.
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