The Devil´s Nose Nose and The Train that Runs its Wrinkles
which is until now the most difficult section of the Ecuadorian train.
To enjoy this adventure, you must go to the Alausí canton, in this place a great monument will observe from above. A saint who takes care and scares from the heights always look at it, it is San Pedro de Alausí. The places of lodging and feeding are multiple and will welcome you with open arms.
Boarding the train tour starts at eight o’clock in the morning at the Alausí station. Children, youth and adults line up to board the assigned car. The sound of the 'chuchuchu' train announces the departure and the landscape between mountains, green spaces, small sulfur river flows are part of the paradisiacal crossing, on one part of the Andean region.
Listening to "The Devil's Nose", perhaps many will be frightened, your imagination flies, maybe you think to see a devilish face with a wrinkled nose and so ugly that it will shake your body, however, the nose of this little devil is not so horrible, but if you open your eyes and look at this great mountain called Pistishi you will see some features, a face that has formed by the peaks and forms of the summit, which cause astonishment, and even more
because that is the mountain that will allow you to reach Sibambe and a viewpoint, from which you can observe this elevation, that reaches 2,346 masl.
On the way I observe the sun wanting to release its rays on the mountains, wanting to illuminate our minds and above all to warm our bodies. It is a route between rivers, mountains, canyons and nature that adds to the countless landscapes that Ecuador offers you in its four regions.
While people watch standing by the windows, in the background the voice of the guide sounds, explaining that the route was designed during Gabriel García Moreno’s government, in 1861; and in 1895, Eloy Alfaro contacted Americans technicians: Archer Harman and Edward Morley, responsible for this building. In 1899, the work of this section begins, which sought to reduce the 17 hours trip to connect the Andes and the Ecuadorian coast.
Cam you imagine how they achieved this construction?
On a wall of almost perpendicular rock they built train rails to the perfection. Well let's talk a little about that. In the book ‘Construction and Rehabilitation of Alfaro’s Train’, its authors tell us that they lost hundreds of lives of Jamaican workers in several circumstances. The circuit becomes a tribute to every life, and an engineering achievement of that time. It is necessary to note that 57,000 to 96,000 cubic meters of material per 1.6 km of track, were extracted. If you believe it was crazy, that became possible and is now part of this tourist route of Ecuador’s train.
And the train starts to descend, with small pauses it stops so that the brequeros can use the manual brake and make the reverse road change in zigzag to reach the viewpoint. The mountain has a slope of 5.8 degrees and 83 m long. At this point you realize that the brequero is a strategic person, the eyes of the driver.
One detail to underline is that the driver does not have mirrors for observing how far you should go, stop and start your rail change, and that’s where the brequeros are the guide of the crossing, the light and the compass.
The zigzag route ends when the locomotive descends and reaches the lookout. The atmosphere welcomes us with an icy cold that penetrates the bones, while a heavy mist fights with the sun's sparkles. I have time to save the best moments on this site. The mountain, a villager from the area accompanied by his llama takes photographs with the
visitors, and the rails keep the best moments of a tour family.
Taste at Sibambe station
After photographing this great elevation we return to the Sibambe station The community welcomes us with dance, music, and, of course, its delicious cuisine.
To quench the cold, a chocolate with humita and endless recipes made with quality products, because the community Tolte manages the 'Train Café'.
Paper dreams and steel forces on the Black Bridge
• Upon returning to Alausi, chosen as the heritage city of Ecuador, there is an incredible steel bridge that joins two spaces separated by an abyss of 65 meters, "the black bridge", is another
impressive work of architecture, with 200 m long.
• Airplane-shaped papers fall from the center of the bridge, some little children on the edge of the rails with a feline cunning and without fear let their dreams escape on every plane they throw to air. Fear invaded my body as I approached them, the vertigo of falling into the abyss, maybe it's the most risky thing I've ever done in life, walk the bridge that has no railings and a false step, is step to the beyond. I get closer to the little ones, my voice breaks
out of fear, but at the same time, my motivation was to know what they think of the train, of that nearby space where they live, and the train becomes a daily routine.
Ecuador is not only a space of unique and magnificent places, this country is the
site of dreams, love and endless opportunities to meet extraordinary people with unthinkable stories. The tour of the Nose of the Devil, permeates my mind, I think of the rails, of the children, of their paper airplanes, in their dreams that throb when they get on the train lifetime.