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Published: August 7th 2009
View From Alausi
Looking down the valley.
The beach at Zorritos, Peru was great, just what we needed. After that we headed north into Ecuador and after changing buses four times got to Cuenca, which is another nice colonial city (yawn). The Sunday markets at Sig Sig, Chordeleg and Galaceo are supposed to be interesting - they're not, but the countryside getting to and from them is very nice. Although it's quite high (2500m) because we're further north it's warmer, wetter and greener. Cuenca has some good museums which we enjoyed before heading to Alausi.
The only reason we went to Alausi was to take the train to Sibambe and back - up and down the Nariz del Diablo (the Devil's Nose). The station is in the middle of the town and for the first few hundred metres runs through the streets before heading down the valley. The track twists and winds down through fields and meadows until it gets to the Devil's Nose where it goes through a few switchbacks down the side of the mountain. In some places the track is right on the edge and you can see three different levels of track below you. At the bottom it turns around and takes the same
Railway tracks running through the streets.
route back up again. It's a pretty spectacular journey which must have been even better until about a year ago when it was a proper train - it's buses on rails now, and you were allowed to ride on the roof. They stopped this after two Japanese tourists were killed a couple of years ago. The guide books and advertising all still show the proper train with people on the roof, when they get updated I'm not sure whether people will keep going to ride on a bus. Although we enjoyed it it wasn't really what we'd expected.
After the train we headed out to Riobamba to spend one night before we go to Latacunga for a trip into Parque Nacional Cotopaxi to hike part of the way up the Volcan Cotopaxi. Cool.
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