The track going down from Alausi to Sibambe is quite steep. Surveyed and laid by British engineers in the nineteenth century,it is a marvel of civil engineering. They still run the old carriages though the puffers have been replaced by prosaic diesel.
A lot of station staff wearing rather camp hats and trying to look busy. We left at 8 o’clock on the dot. You trundle along the narrow gauge track hugging the cliff face. They used to ride on the roof until a few years ago when a pair of Japanese fell off!
You are greeted at the lower station by a group of local people in costume doing unconvincing folk dances to taped music. I couldn’t bring myself to photo them, they seemed so forlorn.
The name Nariz de Diablo apparently refers to a rock sticking up on the hillside but I couldn’t see it. The story goes that the Devil didn’t want it built which explains the two thousand deaths including the chief engineer during its construction.
Alausi itself is a scruffy dump with no perceived good features. A young off-duty policeman told me everyone is at home by 8pm. He appeared to be right.
Next stop Cuenca four hours away on the coach. The prospect of a well-heeled and elegant city.