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the longest day

View Ecuador & Galapagos ... me gusta mucho! - 2015 on Ils1976's travel map.

My gosh, how on earth can a person feel so bad? It is just so weird since there wasn’t even a bit of alcohol involved, but by the time it was 6 AM, I still felt like a zombie. I guess I can only blame it on the mosquito bites coz for some reason, the more I got, the lazier I become and although I know that only the tsetse fly can spread sleeping sickness, I somehow wonder if this isn’t the case for the Ecuadorian mosquito as well? 

Since I am not a scientist, I can’t say for sure, but luckily, as soon as I got some food into my system, my zombie mode slowly disappeared and by the time I got my luggage out of the room and into the bus, I was more than ready for another day on the road.

Today we were going to have a very long bus ride ahead of us coz we were going to drive all the way towards Cuenca, our end destination of the day, but not before we had a few “sightseeing” stops along the way of course. 3 hours into the drive and a few photo stops and a technical stop later, we finally arrived at Alausi, which is basically just a very small town like many others in Ecuador if it wasn’t so known not only for its patron saint Saint Peter but for their train station as well. Alausi, is the starting-off point for the infamous train ride towards the Devil’s Nose. If this doesn’t sound ominous enough, the Spanish name “Nariz del Diablo” will do the trick for sure!


Ecuador’s train system is quite remarkable to say the least coz in the late 1800’s - early 1900’s, they finally were able to link the coastal city of Guayaquil with the capital Quito after overcoming many obstacles at a mountainside known to the locals as “the Condor’s Aerie”.  This section of the track was quickly renamed “the Devil’s Nose” because of the many deaths among the workers, who where building the connection and for that same reason, till this day, it is called the most difficult railway in the world!

Sadly enough because of many frequent delays and derailments, as well as El Nino-related weather, most of the tracks were devastated, but the 12-km stretch from Alausi to Sibambe still remained, allowing people to go out and seek up this “death defying mountain” which can only be reached through a series of tight zigzags carved out of the rock.


The two and a half hours train ride back and forth towards Sibambe was quite interesting and although it was a bit sad that we couldn’t sit on the rooftop of the train anymore, we still were able to see some beautiful landscapes and together with some traditional dancing during our quick stop in Pistishi, it turned out to be more than an interesting morning. Upon our arrival back in Alausi, we quickly hurried towards Manuel and our bus, not only because we still had a long road trip ahead of us, but secondly because we also wanted to see the ruins of Ingapirca.

Ever since we got into the bus at Banos early in the morning, our tour leader Freddy told us it was near to impossible to go and see them coz by the time we got there, it was probably closed and even till this day I still can’t put my finger on it why he didn’t wanted to go and see Ingapirca, but since the major part of our group wanted to see it, we became mutineers and forced Manuel and Freddy to drive us to the Canar province and the small town which bears the same name of the infamous inca ruins. Although Freddy predicted we couldn’t see the ruins, we somehow managed to arrive at the archeological site an hour before closing time, are we great mutineers or what!!!

Still not entirely happy, Freddy went inside the ticket office to get us the entrance tickets and as soon as we were inside, he guided us through the site telling us all about the ways of the incas and as we walked alongside the ruins all the way up to the Temple of the Sun, we had quite a good idea on how the Canari indigenous people and the incas peacefully lived together. Sadly enough, not much is preserved and besides the observatory which has a religious and scientific significance, there are still some traces left behind telling the specialists that the complex played an important role as a fortress and storehouse as well. Even till this day, the locals try to do their best to preserve the remnants by using the traditional building methods, which basically means they get their hands dirty, but on the other hand, they make sure that this magnificent complex doesn’t get lost either, something I can only rejoice!


Once we were back on the road again driving towards Cuenca, the landscapes were still pretty amazing, especially when Manuel decided to take a shortcut into the unknown of which I am sure wasn’t really meant for driving with a very large bus, but as it became darker and darker, I was really looking forward to arriving in the third largest city of Ecuador, which we did a few hours later. Driving up to our hotel shouldn’t be too big of a problem, but as we arrived near our street, we soon noticed that trouble was not far away as people were on strike and closed of one end of our street and if this wasn’t too crazy enough to talk about, there were some serious street works going on as well, but thanks to the ingenuity of Manuel, we managed to arrive at hour hotel at about 8 PM.

Since it was already too late to go out on discovery on our own, me and Tania decided to go for the easy way and joined the rest of our group for dinner in a restaurant not that far away from our hotel. It took a while for everyone to join us at the reception area since there were some problems with certain rooms, but as soon as the whole group was back together again, we could finally go and have dinner, something I could only cheer for since I was starving!

Dinner wasn’t too bad at all and for once Freddy did his best to be a good leader, he even managed to get us a special act. One of the waiters, who happened to be a magician as well, delighted us with some tricks and although it had been quite a long day, thanks to this little bit of entertainment, we all left the place with a smile on our face. As soon as the both of us were back in our room, I was just so tired, that I almost fell asleep in the shower and I was more than looking forward to a good night's rest, when all of a sudden as I wanted to crawl into my bed, I noticed that my foot or more particularly my ankle was really swollen. It seemed that during the day, I got stung by another insect and it seemed that once again I was allergic to it. Just my luck I suppose!

Tania had the same experience a few years back and told me that things could get worse. Since I wasn’t looking forward to staying in our hotel, while the rest of the group was having fun in the NP tomorrow, we both went to the reception area to ask for some “hielo” and after waiting for about 15 minutes, the young guy came back with a big bag of ice for my foot. A little after 1 AM we turned off the lights and while I wanted to sleep, I somehow couldn’t anymore … I was tired as hell, but the thought of getting an ankle with the size of a football, kept me awake almost the entire night!

Posted by Ils1976 06:06 Archived in Ecuador

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The insect bite sounds awful. Your photos here are beautiful

by littlesam1

yep ... me and insect bites, nowadays it seems I am even allergic to the ones here in my home country ... what has the world come to! :)

Thanks so much for the nice comment!

by Ils1976

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