Day 83 July 9

Countries 11    Hotels 39    Cars 51

Flights 24:flying time 66.49 hours

Rickshaw 4    Bus 9    Elephant 1    Boat 14

Cog-wheel train 2    Cable car 6    Subway 8    Ferry 2

Minibus 36    Coach 2    Catamaran 1    Funicular 3

Pick up truck 5    Land Cruiser 8    Hydrofoil 4

Llama 1    Cycle Taxi 1    Train 4    Motorised Canoe 9

Canoe 2    Sightseeing truck 1    Sightseeing bus 4

Golf cart taxi 2


Hideously early start again this morning, then lots of waiting around for my lift to the station.  I was put in a minibus with five, very vocal, happy, Mexicans, who, although we were running late, decided to get the driver to stop at an ATM, which made us even later, so the driver drove like a maniac to get us to the station in time.  The train left a couple of minutes early, with me on board. The interior has seen better days, but the seats are comfortable, and they recline a bit too. The conductors have a uniform that reminds me of the type of character one reads about in children’s books, in their waistcoats and pillbox, peaked caps.  I’m on the Ferrocarril Chihuahua-Pacifico, the Copper Canyon train.

656 kilometres of track, 85 tunnels, 37 bridges, and getting as high as 2400 meters, El Chepe, (the nickname given to the train) runs once a day from Los Mochis to Chihuahua, and from Chihuahua to Los Mochis. It is still dark at 6am when the journey starts but the sun soon makes an appearance to show endless fields of harvested crops, the scenery is still the same after an hour and I fall asleep.

I get woken up when the train makes its next stop at El Fuerte, by the noise the passengers make boarding the train.  Thankfully  I manage to go back to sleep for another hour.  When I wake up I make my way to the restaurant car for breakfast.  Mexicans are very vocal, every carriage I walked through looked and sounded like the occupants were having a celebration, lots of food, lots of shouting, children running around, and lots of laughter.  A marked difference from passengers on a train in the UK. It’s the same in the dining car. I’m pleased the waiter speaks English as the menu is spoken.  My food arrives, two enormous plates, fresh fruit and pancakes, it’s delicious and cost £11, including two large mugs of coffee. While I am stuffing my face with fruit, a chap asks if he can sit at the spare seats in my booth, and when he hears I am English he starts talking to me. He makes for a very pleasant breakfast companion.

When I am back in my seat I’m fortunate to be on the side where the best views are, as the train ambles along, hugging the hillside, I can see down into the ravine below the tracks, which gives the impression that the train is running on the very edge. The train follows a lively, winding river for quite some time, then the scenery changes into lush forests with trees, reaching right to the top of the hills, then changes again into pastures and agricultural fields.

Just before 2pm the train stops at Barrancas, which is where I get off. I am taken, along with a few other passengers, in a bus to the hotel. When I walked into the lounge area of the hotel this is the view that greeted me.

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This is another of those, there. are. no. words. moments.  It’s almost hard to believe it’s real, and the view is just as good from the balcony of my room, utterly stunning.

The hotel hang feeding dishes for humming birds on the hotel balcony,  as if there wasn’t enough to marvel at, these  iridescent creatures are hovering around while one is sitting admiring the view.

The hotel organised a walking tour at four, so there was just time to take photos and have lunch, before meeting up for the walk.  As we started walking there was a lot of thunder and lightening, I could see it raining in the distance, we are so high up and the view is so clear.

We hadn’t got very far when we had to turn back because the rain was moving in our direction. I took this photo of the cable car, it can just be seen, because I’m going on it tomorrow.

We just had time to walk a bit of the way down the canyon to visit a local family whose home is on the side of the canyon, lots of locals live this way and have done for over three hundred years.

I just got back to the hotel before it started pissing down.  The hotel is very cosy, I like the décor.

 

 

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