Ecuador – Day Nine: Nariz del Diablo & Ingapirca

I’m not typically known for my adaptability, however when you’re traveling with a large group of people and majority rules, sometimes you have to suck it up and go with the flow. We had a slight change in our itinerary this morning when our 11:30am train to Nariz del Diablo (the Devil’s Nose) was cancelled. Our two options: skip this highly recommended, non-refundable excursion or reschedule on the 8:00am train – which meant getting up for a 4:15am breakfast to check out of our hotel by 5:00am to be at the ticket counter by 7:00am to adjust our train tickets. We put it to a vote…every one of the students opted for the 8:00am train. Mike and I gave each other a look that read both surprise and disappointment. We figured they’d forego the train just to get a few extra hours of sleep, but in reality it was us old folks that wanted the extra Zs.

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I have no regrets. The Devil’s Nose sits beyond the quaint village of Alausí in the Chimborazo Province. Its train tracks were built in the early 20th century and are renowned to be the most difficult set of train tracks in the world since there are two switchbacks built into the tracks.

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The train takes you down the mountain to a station and museum where you can watch traditional dance and explore a museum that shares how the indigenous people bake bread and extract juice from the sugar cane. Locals shared the history of the mountain’s name and how it originated. During construction of the tracks across the mountain, thousands of workers died and many thought the project was cursed by the devil. Since the mountain looks like a big nose coming up from the ground, they coined it Nariz del Diablo (Devil’s Nose).

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We then traveled to Ingapirca, the largest known Incan ruins in Ecuador. It was a beautiful area and our tour guide, Effe, provided us with a brief history of the ruins.

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Our accommodations for the evening, Posada de Ingapirca, were adjacent to the ruins and you could see them from several different viewpoints on the property. This place was absolutely beautiful. There was a hiking trail around the property lined with pink and red geraniums that led to llamas, pigs, bunnies, and ducks. I took a walk before dinner.

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The dining room had a roaring fire to warm us after a cold, wet day and our meal was one of the tastiest. I dug into this delicious looking tamale before I remembered to take a picture of it.

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Right after dessert, I rushed back to my room to grab a hot shower before the students took all the hot water and then jumped directly into bed. Our rooms were quite cozy with alpaca sheets, a thick velvet comforter, and hot water bottles in our beds to keep us warm throughout the night.

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The next morning…I woke to this view and the best scrambled eggs and bacon I’ve had this whole trip. And this place sure knows how to plate their entrées. They’re stunning!

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Next up…the city of Cuenca.

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