Better “late than never” there is some nice experience to share with you from Ecuador…despite us already being some days in Peru by now: We took a train ride along Devils Nose.
Historically a master piece of engineering: The Trans-Andean Railway went from Guayaquil (at the coast) up until Quito (in the middle of the mountains) within Ecuador. Along the track in between both cities there are many of the highest peaks outside the Himalaya. These had to worked around or across to make this project a success.
Well, that’s all history by now. Today not much of Ecuadors’ pride remains. Various “El Nino” years with their torrential rains have damaged the tracks severely. And in the decades of streets and lorries to transport goods nobody saw a need for maintenance. All that remains somewhat functional for touristic reasons is a stretch between the cities Riobamba and Sibambe.
Our guidebook referred to this part nevertheless as a highlight to visit, as you pass along the famous Devils Nose. Sure as hell we also wanted to tip toe on the devils’ nose (6)
Riobamba but no train
There were already some discussions around fellow travelers, that the train currently is not operating. Rumors differed widely from “the track is simply in too bad of a condition” to “some tourists died when standing on the roof to take some pictures”. But nobody knew for sure.
Doesn’t scare us. But when reaching Riobambas train station it was confirmed, currently no train. And the substitute “ferrocaril” is sold out for the coming days. We didn’t understand what type of vehicle this replacement would be, they alternately talked about a “train” and a “bus on the tracks” *smiley surprised*
Thanks to insisting and Iris’ charm, working on the sales lady at the ticket office as well, we nevertheless got some tickets for the replacement vehicle from Alausi to Sibambe. Shorter and more expensive than expected, but at least covering somehow the Devils Nose *smiley smiling*