Flowers of Ecuador (Colin Sorenson)
Today was another early start. Carlos, our guide for the day, arrived at 6 AM for our excursion to Ingapirca and the Devil's Nose Train Ride. It was about a 2-hour drive from Cuenca to Ingapirca, and another 2 hours or so to Alausa, where we boarded the train. Apparently we were the first visitors of the day to arrive at Ingapirca, as we had to wait a few minutes before anyone was there to collect our $7.50/person entry fee. Ingapirca was obviously an important site during the time of the Inca Empire, and we enjoyed learning of the site's uses and the methods that runners would use to communicate messages between Machu Picchu and Ingapirca along the extensive network of Inca trails. It was a chilly morning at Ingapirca, and I wished I had brought a jacket. The day would soon warm up as the clouds burned up and the sun came out.
Next, we headed to Alausa, for the Devil's Nose Train Ride. What a thrill! We rented seat cushions for a dollar before climbing on to the roof and staking out a spot for the best views of the mountainous terrain. Of course, I think everyone there had a great view. At first I was a little uneasy about sitting on top of the old train, but I soon soon relaxed and enjoyed the ride. Patricia and I both napped a little in the car on the way back to Cuenca after a long and enjoyable day of sightseeing.