Peru & Ecuador with the Theobalds travel blog

Oldest Spanish Church

Waiting for the train before the Germans arrived.

Irene looking excited and not stifling a yawn

On the train but not much to see so far.

The train route once the cloud had lifted.

View from the train.

Train staff talking to German guide. Boooooooo

Inca ruins but not as good as Machu Picchu

Art work in Cuenca

One of the properties in Cuenca


The alarm rang at 4:15 and we jumped up all excited for the day. In reality we both looked at each other and eventually plucked up the courage to start getting ready.

We got showered and dressed and then put our bags outside to be loaded onto the minibus and headed off for breakfast. This proved to be a rather tired affair and just confirmed my view of the hotel. We managed to sort out the dinner issue with Diego and then the four of us got into the minibus and headed down the road to get to the Devil’s nose train. As you can imagine the trip was quite a quiet affair as it was still dark so not much to see. We stopped at the first church built by the Spanish in the area in 1534 the enthusiasm for getting out and taking photos was not great but we did manage to take a few and seemed keen. Then on to the station which was another half hour away. We arrived full of excitement by now but we were about 11,000 feet up and the clouds were very low so visibility was pretty poor. We queued up to get on the train but a tour guide for a German group was at the front so instead of just her and the family of four in front of us she proceeded to check in a whole German party. As you can imagine I was not impressed but no matter what I said they kept coming along and getting on the train. It was not really an issue but my British pride in queuing and doing the right thing was badly hurt. Still we got on and I realised my camera needed charging but someone else had already plugged equipment in all of the available sockets grrrrrrr. Anyway the train started and we realised that the cloud was so low we could not see very much at all. In fact we were about half way down the mountain before we could see much at all. Still we took the photos we could and considered how lucky we had been on other days when the weather could have ruined everything. At the bottom we got out and looked around the terminal station where there was a coffee shop and traditional dancers to watch for an hour. Luckily I managed to plug the camera in and got a good charge into it.

Even better news the sun was trying to break through and the clouds were lifting. We boarded the train for the return journey and had clear views all the way up. It is a spectacular view as the train rises up the mountain by use of a switchback so that it goes forward and back about three or four times before it escapes to the higher reaches. The view down the mountain into the valley is fantastic and we were so lucky to see it. Once we returned we got back into the minibus and started our journey to Cuenca. The trip was going to be about four hours but we had not accounted for the low cloud that we entered just above the town where the train finished it’s journey.

Faust drove through near blind conditions with various more reckless people passing us or coming towards us on our side of the road. We also had some difficult roads and Faust had to swerve various times to miss potholes or just no road at all! I shut my eyes as much as possible because it was pretty awful and there was nothing to see. Diego explained that we were going to see some Inca ruins that were about 12,000 feet up but with the weather as it was there was little chance of seeing anything. Not put off we decided to carry on and visit these ruins.

We were in thick cloud up to about 8 miles from the site and we had come to the conclusion that there would be nothing to see when we popped out of the cloud. It was like opening a door as we then could see everything around us with a thick blanket immediately behind. We got to the site in sunshine and had another lunch of chicken, stew, etc, etc which again was nice and then wandered around the ruins. They were nothing like Machu Picchu but made a nice break from driving around.

Once we finished our visit we got back in our minibus and travelled the final hour and a half to Cuenca. The city looked very new and lots of clean, modern buildings. Apparently a lot of North Americas have retired here or brought holiday homes so Diego says it has lost some of its charm. We went to a viewing point to look over the city and then came down to our hotel after visiting a famous Cuencan’s art studio. Suffice to say we did not buy anything. Diego suggested it was time for a beer so we chucked our bags in the hotel and wandered down to a craft beer bar that he knew and had an enjoyable hour or so. Diego had to go and recommended a restaurant which we went to and tried some local food. It was very nice and as they had happy hour on we tested some of their cocktails as well. By now we are completely exhausted so came back to the hotel for a rest and finish this blog off. Internet is better than he last hotel but considering we are in a large city it is not great.

Tomorrow is a 9 am start so a lay in!

Just finished writing this and going to upload photos so after an 19 hour day I need a rest.

Good night and more about Cuenca tomorrow



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