Marc & Nora ROUND THE WORLD 2005/2006 - Join us!

Ecuador-Travelogue  |  Travel time: September 2005 - July 2006  |  by marc and nora L.

ECUADOR: Nariz de Diablo-Train Journey

We took the 5am bus to Alausi as the journey is 4.5 hours. We fell asleep right away and when I woke up in between I discovered that it was either raining or it was very foggy! Great! Thats not the weather you want to have when you plan to spend the day sitting on the roof of a train!

Yes! thats what we were going to do! Most of Ecuadorians train system doesnt exist anymore but this one certain train journey is still open - mainly as a tourist attraction.

An english girl, Kate, joined us on the trip - we also met her at the border in Ecuador. To her disgust she had to discover that the women behind her who had been sick during most of the 4.5 hrs bus journey had vomitted all over her rucksack! (I was quite surprised that this horrible incident hadnt happened to me as i always seem to be the unlucky one...)

ok - so here we were in Alausi! By the time we arrive the weather had changed completely and all we could see was blue sky and bright sunshine! NICE!

Sleepy Ecuadorian in Alausi

Sleepy Ecuadorian in Alausi

Alausi street festival for kids

Alausi street festival for kids

The train arrived packed from Riobamba and next to hundreds of other travellers we found our spots on the roof of the train! how bizarre! for 1 USD you can rent some cushions which is highly recommendable!

The Nariz de Diablo is a hair raising descent which switch-backs down the valley along a section of mountain which the locals claim resembles the shape of a nose (hence the name). The fact that this section is accessible by train is fascinating enough - again the train can only descend by going zig zag with switch backs which allow the train to climb a gradient of 1-in-18 from 1800 to 2600 meters - but knowing it was constructed more than 100 years ago is probably the most impressive fact!

There are vendors on the roof as well selling drinks and snacks - a quite funny sight to see people walking along the roof..

The train makes a loop from Alausi to the Devil's Nose and comes back to Alausi - the journey takes approximately 1.5 hours. As most tourists already took the train from Riobamba in the morning they all got off in Alausi to either continue their travel south or to return by bus which is quicker! So it was only 5 people (Marc, Kate, me and a French couple) that continued the journey back to Riobamba by train - we had the roof of 3 carriages for ourselves! !

The landscape we saw was breathtaking! The train crawls through a part of Ecuador's 400km "Central Valley" which was called "The Avenue of the Volcaoes" by the German Explorer Alexander Von Humboldt.

We saw so many farmers and all the children we passed were excitedly waving (except one that showed us the finger!...little bastard) and screaming!

There were innumerable cows, sheep and donkeys on the railway track which caused us to stop several times.
The landscape is so beautiful here - so green, so lush, really wonderful!

After a 4 hour train journey we arrived in Riobamba.
Checked in into a cheap hotel, went into a pizzeria where nora had a good pizza and marc an awful lasagne which came out soon later...from both ends!

Next stop Baños.

On the roof of the train

On the roof of the train

Just enough space for the train

Just enough space for the train

The old railway station of Simbambe

The old railway station of Simbambe

As we said before, there is just enough space for the railway track - steep gorge immediately next to it

As we said before, there is just enough space for the railway track - steep gorge immediately next to it

the landscape

the landscape

Marc and I enjoying the ride in the sunshine

Marc and I enjoying the ride in the sunshine

The railway "driver"

The railway "driver"

Train roof vendors

Train roof vendors

A short break to go to the toilet (in the wild of course)

A short break to go to the toilet (in the wild of course)

The train "driver"

The train "driver"

The scenery

The scenery

A farm

A farm

Kids waving

Kids waving

You can guess that the speed of the train was rather slow...

You can guess that the speed of the train was rather slow...

Beautiful farmland next to a river

Beautiful farmland next to a river

The colours were so intense that it is impossible to capture them on a photo

The colours were so intense that it is impossible to capture them on a photo

Some farms scattered on a hill

Some farms scattered on a hill

© marc and nora L., 2005
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The trip
 
Description:
Hello - 5 more days!!! On the 12th of September we are setting off! Our plan is to travel round the world for a period of 10 months. 1st stop: Thailand (1 month) and cambodia 2nd stop: Via Singapore (overland) to Australia where we plan to stay for approximately 4-5 months. 3rd stop: New Zealand (2 months) (north and south island) 4th stop: South America (approx. 3 months) (Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador and if time and money allows we might visit costa rica)
Details:
Start of journey: Sep 12, 2005
Duration: 11 months
End of journey: Jul 31, 2006
Travelled countries: world-wide
United Kingdom
Thailand
Malaysia
Cambodia
Singapore
Australia
Australia & Pacific
New Zealand
South America
Chile
Argentina
Bolivia
Peru
Ecuador
Canada
The Author
 
marc and nora L. is an active author on break-fresh-ground. since 15 years.
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