Our last morning in Riobamba started with a little bit of panic. We understood that the train left at 7:00 am. We had asked that someone knock on our door in the morning at 5:30, so that we´d have enough time to get packed up, grab a cup of coffee, a bite to eat...get to the train station plenty early to get our tickets. We were up at 5:30 (having gone to bed early) and weren´t really surprised when our knock on the door didn´t come.
After about fifteen minutes, I look out the window to see the man opening the gates and letting the train into the station. We hustled out the door, ran downstairs and woke up the ´night guard´and had him let us out the door. We raced down to the train station only to find hordes of gringos ahead of us in line...and the roof was packed.
Luckily for us, there was a second public train (and one private one) that day, so we were able to get seats/tickets and also a coveted spot on the roof.
The train stopped in Guamote, where we´d been the day before. This time the town was quite different, to be sure! There were just a few people in the street, a couple of them selling food and coffee for the crazy gringos.
The air was quite cold that early in the morning, not to mention the fact that we´d been bobbling along on TOP of a train for the past couple of hours, rolling along and seeing the gorgeous green and fertile fields. To warm up, we had a few pieces of fried bread with cheese in the middle. Just the thing for a cold morning. Think glazed donut, without the glazing, just chewy dough with melted cheese...
In regards to questions about the train ride, there were only a couple of Ecuadorians that I noticed that were on the train. This isn´t a transportation train, this is a tourist train. Ecuador used to have a complete railway system, but over the years it has been damaged and fallen into disrepair. There are only sections left, and this one continues on because of the dramatic descent down the Nariz del Diablo. Whereas a bus ticket for the entire route would be around $4, this train was $11. It went from Riobamba to Guamote, Alausi and then Sibambe. From the bottom, it went back up the same way and returned to Alausi.
As you may also notice, Susan ALSO had a poncho on, although she took hers off for the lower, much warmer part of the trip. So! Here are a few pictures from the first potion, along with a closeup of her beautiful poncho. Hers is the style that the women wear in Ambato, which is further north from Riobamba.
I do have quite a bit more pictures and video, but am having a hard time finding an internet cafe with a DVD reader...so I only have a fraction of them available to post. I´ll look later today and see what I can find. I´ve got to get back to the hotel...Susan is sleeping in EXTRA long today. I´ve already been out for a walk and a little breakfast tease: fresh watermelon. MMMmmm...