My trip to Alausi was probably the most impulsive of my adventures in South America. While sitting at a bus station I read in a guide book about The Devils Nose train journey. It was said to be the most scenic but dangerous train ride on earth. I heard a driver shouting for passengers to Alausi and I thought it was a sign so I got on. I had no idea how long it would take but 2 and half hours later the bus driver shouted “Alausi!” and I quickly got off. I realised there was nothing around, we were on top of a mountain and the driver had gone.
Finding A Hostel
I walked a little and there was a small town below in the valley. After 20 minutes of walking I asked a guy and he told me that town was Alausi…it was tiny. I had 25kgs in my backpack so the walk there wasn’t ideal but I could manage. I found a hotel called Hostel Europa, it was around $12 for a single room including breakfast.
I rested for a bit and then went out for dinner, most of the restaurants were just dining in people’s homes. Locals open there doors and have a couple of menu options for a set price, its common in small South American towns. I chose one that had a big family dining inside. The food was great and the couple whose house it was were friendly. They told me I should wake up early to get a ticket for the Devils Nose train journey as it is usually booked ahead of time.
I had an early night as there was absolutely nothing to do afterwards. By the time I finished dinner at around 9pm I didn’t see a single person on the streets and it felt a little creepy to be out. Many South American towns have a statue of a Saint towering over the town. This one really freaked me out, at night his face looked like he was grimacing at me (see the photo). That was his job though, he was put there to protect the locals and he certainly made me walk a little faster back to the hotel so he was doing a good job.
I woke up early and headed to the station at 8am to book The Devils Nose train journey for that day. They run between 8-10.30am daily except Monday. They told me there was one seat available at 10.30am so I had some lunch and came back.
The Devils Nose Train Journey
The train was amazing, full of character and in really good condition. It was a journey through the Andes so it was very high up. The views were picturesque and the track was very bendy which led to many trains derailing in the past. People used to sit on top of the train but recently a Japanese tourist had fallen to his death and for that reason we had to remain inside the carriage. They selected the most scenic 20 minutes of the track and shut the rest down due to hazards, it previously went all the way to Quito. I thoroughly enjoyed winding through the mountains and looking down at the beautiful valleys. Make sure you get a seat on the right side of the carriage as it has the best views.
Nariz Del Diablo
These three old men were sitting next to me and they were so sweet, they were best friends who lived in Ecuador and did an annual trip together. They shared some of their highlights with me and I was excited for my onward travel to Quito where they had given me loads of local hotspots to visit. As we reached our destination known as Nariz del Diablo (the Devils Nose) we were greeted by traditional musicians and villagers with their Llamas. Some artisans were selling crafts and a lady was weaving a beautiful patterned belt, I asked her to sew it onto my camera as a strap. She showed me that if you look back at the mountains from that point it looked like a devils face with one of them being a nose hence the name Nariz del Diablo.
It was such a relaxing day, I had a visual feast and enjoyed chatting to locals and taking pictures. I would highly recommend the train journey if you have the chance. Generally, Ecuador has beautiful drives so I would always opt for a coach rather than flying, its a small country so it doesn’t take long either. I will be going to a remote village in the Andes tomorrow which has a cheese and chocolate factory. It used to a very poor village and then this Swiss guy came and built these factories to help them out and now they are ballin’ so I thought it would be cool to check out. Plus I haven’t had real cheese for like 4 months so its a win win situation 🙂
Will keep you posted!
Ciao for now! x