Traveling Ecuador by train | DW Travel DocumentaryJun 05, 2021
Our rail adventure begins in the colorful port city of Guayaquil located on the Pacific coast. It is home to more than 2 million people. One of the few historic buildings in the city is the cathedral. There are quite a few iguanas here. They are free to roam and multiply. prodigiously I like to feed them ten years ago I brought my iguana Marco Antonio here I still recognize him by his colors as your uncle our whole trip will start in a few minutes the
trainis waiting in tehran a suburb of guayaquil
trainmanager karin escobar is here to welcome us welcome a ticket costs the equivalent of 17 euros sales are still a bit bureaucratic this line only resumed service in 2013 train
ecuadoris experiencing a renaissance right now the railway was completed over a hundred years ago when aloy alfaro was President made him a national hero but it was hard to kill Akito back then the only way to get there from Guayaquil from Quito it was on horseback and it took a month we urgently needed a better connection between the coast and the mountains and the route was so dangerous that the
travelers made wills because they didn't know if they would come back alive because it doesn't make a rat sorry the trip continues being an adventure few security guards on mopeds have joined us there are no railway gates on the roads so the guards will secure the crossings for us when the railway was completed in 1908 it became a symbol of national unity today its reconstruction serves the same purpose that the project has become Known as a patriotic challenge that aims to unite Ecuador's various ethnic groups, the Trans-Ecuadorian Railroad is 450 kilometers long and stretches from the Pacific coast to the east to the highlands of the Andes.
It is widely seen as the most spectacular railway line in South America, but Ecuador's lifeline was blocked for 15 years. 250 kilometers of track were affected by landslides and general neglect we are very proud of the rebuilding effort taking us back to the days of President Arroyo surco
travelingby train used to be normal here when old people get on the train now it is an experience touching for them they have tears in their eyes they remember when they and their children traveled from the coast to the mountains the railway has even inspired a popular love song the song dolores that I first love first is called rumble sore is called rumba was written by be santeria palma and originally sung by some and others is a very popular song about the railway that goes between guayaquil and quito ancient temple asi nava way here Depot at the beginning of the 20th century, Ecuador was an economically underdeveloped country, but the railway line changed everything that takes crops from the fields to the market today, for example, Ecuador is the world's largest exporter of ban years ago, the fruit is still harvested by hand and then the bananas are transported by a cable car these bunches of bananas are heavy and hard work transporting them around the equipment they are the legal minimum month single salary which is equivalent to about 220 euros this it is the logistics center of the plantations here the bananas are separated from the stems and then classified according to the different export standards the climate of
ecuadoris ideal for growing bananas all year round the bananas are carefully washed to remove any traces of pesticides the nominal Ellis Arnall premeditated bananas that have never had soft skins are not exported specially trained staff ensure only high quality fruit is sent to export markets we do not want any complaints about overripe bananas export them while they are still green that is not yet ripe Here 3300 boxes full of bananas are harvested per hectare per year and they are exported to germany, japan, russia and the usa rebuilding the railway was almost like building a new line the project cost the equivalent of 220 million euros a huge sum for a country like ecuador the trains have recently started running again and are still running we are dealing with some problem areas it will take a while before we get that under control we are always doing maintenance work so the train can run as efficiently as possible and transport cargo and passengers without interruption we are moving slowly uphill now the vegetation it changes with the elevation characteristic of the transition from the coastal region to the Andes Mountains is the cloud forest a primeval natural paradise that is also one of the most threatened ecosystems in the world we were about to meet a local tribe of indigenous people the schwa they are holding a ceremony to determine where the strangers are welcome here today; if they are not, they will have to leave. those who can visit are greeted with ritual dances, an important sh. oe our habit is to drink master an alcoholic beverage known as spits beer was well known even in Inca times those who drink chicha are considered friends thank you not our enemies the schwa did not treat their enemies kindly in a sacred ritual the princes tribals cut off the heads of criminals this took place near a sacred waterfall prayed to the god of nature you are done and you used a combination of herbs to shrink the heads the people here believe this waterfall is the temple of our rotom this is the final part of the welcoming ceremony is a purification ritual designed to remove negative energy from strangers so that they can be brought into the schwa community after this uplifting experience we traveled about 90 kilometers to the town of Buckeye which is located in the foothills of the Andes at a height of about 300 meters above sea level some locals and typical costumes are here to welcome the Train tourists love it in 1998 the chan chán r river overflowed its banks here floods tore out a section of track and damaged a nearby train station and this fuel tank in 2008 on the 100th anniversary of completion of the railways President Rafael Correa announced that the whole line would be rebuilt but most people didn't To benefit from this new service, this railway no longer has a real purpose, it runs every 15 days, rich people can afford the tickets , the luxury train is not designed for poor people or retired railway workers, they couldn't afford a ticket anyway, you are talking about the Cruise Train it offers the only continuous service on this route it runs once every two weeks and has space for 54 passengers well review welcome cordial meant a Cruzeiro suit ring hello and welcome to the crew of the zero train as we travel through Ecuador I invite you to enjoy all the comforts that our train has to offer you during the trip you will see impressive landscapes and experience different climates the 4-day trip costs the equivalent The amount of one thousand euros that only wealthy foreign tourists can afford to travel on this train this small cemetery near the city of the weakest remember a dark chapter in railroad history thousands of workers died in construction accidents or because they fell ill construction supervisor John Harmon Died here in 1907 probably of yellow fever.
This cross is dedicated to him. This cross is for all the workers who died when not. area around devil's nose many of them were working with dynamite were not caught up in the blast due to weather the local Highland population was deemed unsuitable for railway construction work so managers recruited almost 3,000 men from Jamaica who had experience in building railways this is the city of C Bombay where we started the ascent to the famous devil's nose the origin of the name is part legend and part real The mountain actually looks like a nose but some say it the president at the time Alfaro toy made a deal with the devil so he could build the railway Oh, the heart of the world's most challenging railway lies deep in the chanchan river gorge the train zigzags its way up the mountain moves forward then back to the next higher section and then forward again as he makes his ascent from here you can clearly see you devil's nose for passengers it's always an awesome ride we're not going to go yeah go but i see a BMC Bombay we told the passengers we'd get to devil's nose soon we're going to go all the way up and all the passengers said oh so we have served some liquor munira dia we wanted to calm the nerves of the passengers report the man drinking said through the hatch at one point people were allowed to sit on the roof of the train but after several accidents the authorities put a stop to the fact that one of the first passengers was president Eli Alfaro wrote when we came to show and I peered into that terrifying abyss I closed my eyes and put my trust in the stars the town of a shallow sea is located two thousand three hundred sixty meters above sea level which is five hundred and fifty meters higher than see Bombay and I will see is an important market town for local tourists who come to allow the sea to visit the site of the largest inca ruins in ecuador found near ingapirca these seamless walls made of carefully chiselled stones are typical of inca architecture the area around england was settled by a local people called the Qunari who were conquered by the Incas at the beginning of the 16th century.
Archaeologists found a grave under these stones, the ones that belong here and six of them. among them was a possible Canyari priestess judging by her age and her burial clothes England aware that other women were lying in physical positions around her that is an indication that they believed they would be reborn after death because they thought that as we were told for being a YES Inga perco was sacred to both the canaries and the incas we return to the trend through zero this train reflects a lot of the modern history of Ecuador caricature DNA in a beach wagon has its own design everyone is different wagon a dramatic or a chase the wagon was in at this time it is furnished in the baroque style with colonial touches you can see it in the wood paneling and the gold leaf that is attached to it we spent the morning crossing a semi-arid region called choke aha at a height Of 3,000 meters we also have a car decorated in the pre-colonial style that is before the arrival of the Spanish where the rituals of our ancestors are evoked. two as the ceremonies dedicated to the sun and the moon this region here was known as the middle of the world which refers to the equator so north of here this steam engine will take us to the next leg of our journey it was built by a American company and was regularly used on this line until 1992 to operate a steam locomotive it takes a lot of experience ideally it's a stoker if you have a chance to become a train engineer you should take it it's a great job right now I'm the only veteran driver of steam engines in ecuador everyone else has retired it's time for some last minute maintenance while that's going on we head to a small chapel right next to the train track the chapel was built in 1524 making it the church The oldest in Ecuador was severely damaged by an earthquake in 1797 the pore is the local indigenous people worshiped the moon and Mother Earth this chapel is dedicated to the e Barban's Virgin Mary ra was built on a local ceremonial square that was used by Indians after they became Christians they believed the Virgin Mary would bless them and their grain harvest screams record MSM in Paris yes it produces grandmothers this was the beginning of the spanish effort to convert the region to Christianit and full steam ahead the engine makes a lot of horsepower and does it at 3,300 meters above sea level it's almost like watching a volcano erupt I wouldn't be here someday I'd like to be engineer and drive a steam engine to the devil's nose that's my dream and i hope one day it will come true maybe i'll never be an engineer but at least i'd like to drive a steam locomotive over the mountains on this stretch of the road route the trend cruise always uses a steam locomotive it is a nice change as we travel through the highlands of the Andes we arrive at the town of Leo Bumba they are quite fast when the sky it is clear you can see several volcanoes from here some of them are still active the train crew sarah will stay in rio bamba overnight now we are going to try a local delicacy we have been invited to the house of a locomotive driver edgar rio bomba is known for a grilled dish made with guinea pigs called quiesce ro edna maria's mother keeps a close eye on the preparations Just a few years ago, local people died of plague after eating guinea pig, but Maria knows how to cook the dish correctly with garlic , onion and potatoes.
The guinea pig was also popular with the Incas when it comes when my son gets home from work. eat a whole guinea pig your tongue too but you can't always offer people a whole pig even though they would like one which is roasted often served on holidays tastes a bit like rabbit not surprisingly Edgar often likes a bigfood the train drivers can really work up an appetite the next day the cruise train leaves rio bamba and heads towards the mountains the security guards are still with us the observation car at the end of the train offers amazing views of the roosevelt ramos field The Rio Bombo Viña Route we are now on the road from video bomba to it would not be this is one of the most impressive railway lines in the country that rises from 2,600 meters to 3,600 9 meters adora bina the station is located at the foot of the chimborazo volcano la highest mountain in ecuador and an important part of our ancient culture these llamas seem right at home here in o state this is the highest train station in ecuador you might expect to see a rack railway here but the engine does the journey itself it just usually meant a top rack aha turned into machines our poor miss team locomotive used to run on this line and if the train was too much long, some of the carriages would stay behind the station the rest of the train would continue to Urbina and then return for the other carriages later they would put them all together again he must have come a little later we met a man who represents another part of the cultural heritage of Ecuador Baltazar pushka is the Chimborazo regions last yarrow or ice merchant even here at an elevation of 4,100 meters there is still some grass to be found, but like ours he makes ropes out of the grass so he can't carry the ice chunks to his donkeys , the air is very thin here Balthazar 70 years old and his donkey are doing very well the ice mine is located at an elevation of 4800 meters Balthazar has been digging ice here for 55 years when I was 15 years old I started working with my father, mother and brothers sometimes people needed ice so much that we had to make two trips and then take it to a merchant, the merchant sold it every day.
He used house to house so people could keep their food cold, he also blindfolded the fish vendors at the local market, but as our ice cut into pieces weighing around 50 kilograms each. It's hard work, especially at this altitude. Then, wrap the pieces in grass to keep the ice cold. He tied a rope around a bale of ice and then loaded it onto his donkey. Now they will return. down the mountain Chimborazo is the highest mountain in Ecuador at almost 6,300 meters it's already late Baltazar has returned to Río Bamba he sells his large chunks of ice for the equivalent of just over four euros each Chimborazo's ice is especially pure and dense but these days only a few customers appreciate those qualities connoisseurs say the ice tastes sweet some even claim it's good for the bones it certainly seems to have kept Baltazar in good shape all these years our train ride to through the pain continues north it's clear the railway was rebuilt for the tourist trade the locals don't benefit much from it the train continues to roll through the Highlands and the passengers seem to be enjoying the ride shows a bit of heat in the mouth i mean just look out the window i see things i've never seen anywhere else it's fantastic and the people are so friendly just u Few of us speak English and I haven't found anyone who can speak German but you can write what you want or use hand gestures and you'll be fine Ecuador is famous for its roses and exports 2 billion of them every year the local climate and the high altitudes offer almost perfect growing conditions this is Nevada Rose Farm 52 species of roses are grown here on a total of 35 hectares.
Red roses are in demand throughout the year. 500 workers, most of them women, searched and packed the flowers, even for the people who work here every day. Roses are something special. the most beautiful gift you can give a bouquet of roses symbolizes love affection and appreciation now we are in the last leg of our journey it is time to say goodbye to our security guards this is latacunga the city has been destroyed several times by e arthquakes and damaged by the eruptions of the nearby Cotopaxi volcano after each disaster the city was rebuilt the Hacienda La Cienega has survived intact for over 400 years it has hosted several prominent guests including German geographer and naturalist Alexander von Humboldt State Nazi Micah while he was doing research on the cotopaxi this was a good place to work because on clear days you can see the volcano from here was able to make detailed visual observations over a long period of time the party in the case of many years on the opportunity with a party This is the room where Humboldt stayed in 1802.
Today, visitors can stay here. Humboldt's work created the basis for his research on the mountain, but he never climbed Cotopaxi. The National Park that surrounds the volcano is home to several wild horses. We wanted to know how they ended up here in the shadow of the highest active volcano in the world nattokinase Nakata politics is there a location the horses that live i In the National Park they came out of the nearby farms and we are never around, they have gotten used to the cold weather, elevation and nature, that's why we refer to them as wild horses, they say for Verona. what is a single horse population cotopaxi national park cotopaxi is known as the matterhorn of the andes the summit is often obscured by clouds the final part of our journey takes us through an area humboldt called the avenue of volcanoes the time from scratch is too heavy for the tracks to do this part of the trip so we have changed to the trend a loss for the fairgrounds that is lighter this is also a tourist train and makes trips to Quito on weekends on The Trans-Ecuadorian Railroad was once much more than a mode of transportation—it was a symbol of national pride—but much of the freight traffic moved from the railroad to the Pan-American Highway.
Still, the legacy of the railroad remains. It is the simple law where this was Yago and this national symbol was created. During the administration of President Arroyo Faro he was the best citizen of our country the railway project eventually overcame enormous difficulties this new transport system helped move goods and services between the coasts in the mountains for decades the system was a symbol of national unity unfortunately Our goal is no longer to restore this national symbol and its cultural heritage, but can that be done with a rail line that caters primarily to tourists? We arrive in Quito, our final destination, this is the highest capital city in the world at a height of two thousand and eight. one hundred and fifty meters Quito was one of the original twelve UNESCO World Heritage Sites the list was first compiled in 1978 Alexander von Humboldt enjoyed his stay in Quito wrote that the city simply breathed sensuality and opulence today Quito is Considered by many to be the country's city, party city, a popular way to celebrate a festive occasion is to pile guests onto a triumphant bus and drive across town.
Traditional versions of Chivas are often used in rural areas where roads are poor. improved party buses first appeared in the capital 20 years ago a city tour lasts about two hours we get a lot of tourists people celebrate birthdays here or like these people, our graduation ceremony, we also organize bachelor parties and many other events , people love it, okay, let's have fun
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