Colombia-Ecuador 2013. Day 15: Riobamba – Alausí

2013/10/27

“It’d be great to have a quiet day” I thought that morning. Sure…

The day didn’t start well. I wanted to take the small road that leads to Guamote but nobody in Riobamba knew about it. So I took the main road, which meant up and traffic. Besides, it’s quite sandy from here onwards, so having traffic around is not the nicest thing that can happen to you.

I was starting to regret having taken the interamerican highway. The traffic had a been a pain on previous day and it was today as well. Luckily, everything changed when the road split up in two and I didn’t take the turn towards Guayaquil. Great!

That happened in Cajabamba, which also ment something else: the beginning of real indigenous communities. I had had a small taste of them just when the downhill from El Chimborazo started (Tutatacto I think they were called), but Cajabamba is a great town where everybody is indigenous, dresses like that and even speaks the language (road signs are in their language). For the first time, they looked like an alive community to me.

Indigenous people have their good things and their bad ones as well. I don’t think they’re the greatest people on earth nor the worst. They’re just like you and me, but I’m glad that they’re allowed to keep their culture and their space. Also, expect them to like the same things as you and me: Cajabamba is filled with internet places, music shops and stuff. They live in the XXI century, just like us.

The road from Cajabamba turns downhill. I had some head winds that made me having to pedal, since this downhill is not very steep but itnis very long (which is great!). The scenery turns nicer (even if it isn’t spectacular) and brings a surprise: the train! Or the railroad at least, since I didn’t see any train. But it looks nice.

Pass Guamote (a nice town with a little bit of everything), and then road goes up again. Not too hard, unless you have head winds like me. It’s pure paramo here (that’s their expression), but it’s all laboured, so don’t expect huge natural monuments. There’re couple of small towns along the way.

Rain and very tight low fog caught me here so I couldn’t see almost anything of last 30 km. Police and the guys at the church were away from their places is Ixtan (the only sleeping places in those towns, like Palmira), so I couldn’t get any shelter from them. It was raining lots by then and I didn’t feel like setting up the tent in a place where I couldn’t see 10m away from me. That’s why I kept going. I arrived to Alausí at night. The downhill is spectacular there by the way. Gladly, the clouds moved for a short while and I could see the whole valley for couple of instants!

And Alausí is a really nice town! Totally worth the visit!!

CAREFUL: I have mentioned the land is very sandy here. So when it rains rocks fall from the walls non-stop. Some small, some big. I managed to miss them all, but it can be really dangerous!! Not lying!!!

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