Christ, a train at last

Riobamba Travel Blog

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View of Riobamba with Chimborazo lurking...

Paul headed back to Quito as he was flying back home to Turks & Caicos (tough life), while Harald, Sylvie and I got the bus down to Riobamba (1.5 hours, $2), hoping to get ourselves sorted for the Devils Nose train journey.  Its one of the only remaining trains in Ecuador and isn´t really used for getting from A to B as such, it is purely a tourist attraction due to scenery.  We knew it ran Wed, Fri and Sun, and we were disappointed to find out when we got to the train station that tickets for the whole journey were sold out for the next week.  Luckily with Sylvie´s Spanish we found out that it was possible top get tickets just for the Alausi-Sibambe part (which is the actual Devil´s Nose part) for $7.

80 return, so we booked that up for the next day and checked out buses to Alausi from Riobamba - that was simple enough as they leave every half hour, so we finally had a plan sorted, which was a relief.

We spent the afternoon walking round Riobamba, which is quite a nice city and has a great backdrop with Volcan Chimborazo lurking in the background - pretty spectacular!  We took in some of the parks and squares and then had a decent chinese in the evening and got an early night as we needed to be in Alausi pretty early to get the train.

The following day, we got to Alausi (bus $1.50) and waited around for the train.  Doesn´t seem to make any difference what form of transport you take in South America, they just don´t run on time!  It was meant to leave at 11am, but it was 12.15pm before we pulled out of the station.

  Slightly bizarre experience - they are not actual train carriages on this route, but minibuses that have been converted to run of the rails, so it took away slightly from the romantic notion of a train ride through dazzling mountain scenery.  Still, we started to down the Nariz Del Diablo (Devil´s Nose), the views were spectacular.  It was a beautiful sunny day as well, so it made for a great journey.  We got to stop at the bottom for photos before returning to Alausi.

Harald and Sylvie were going onto Cuenca, and I to Guayaquil so we said our goodbyes - has been good travelling with those guys for the last week or so.  Lucikly the last bus of the day to Guayaquil was running late, so just after 2pm I hopped on.

  I assumed it was a direct bus, but we took a kind of offroad route straight across the mountains, dropping off and picking up all the locals on the way.  Took about 2 hours to get accross before we hit the main highway on the other side, and I was then rather unceremoniously told to get off and get on another bus that was waiting in the layby - they'd given me no warning and I was lucky that I didn't leave anything behind as they hussled me off.  The new bus carried on to Guayaquil and within another 2 and a half hours I was there, arriving over the long bridge that goes across the bay, along with a beautiful red sunset - nice way to enter!  The bus terminal was huge and modern and so it was a good start to Ecuador's biggest city, although I wasn't expecting to stay long...

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View of Riobamba with Chimborazo l…
View of Riobamba with Chimborazo …
Harald in a spot of bother...
Harald in a spot of bother...
Train station at Alausi
Train station at Alausi
View down the switchbacks to the N…
View down the switchbacks to the …
Stunning views
Stunning views
Some last minute track maintenance…
Some last minute track maintenanc…
Volcan Chimborazo
Volcan Chimborazo
Riobamba
photo by: Adrian_Liston