¡Hola! Bienvenidos to my blog! My name is Shelby Aguilar, and I am a freshman at the Mount. I am a Health Sciences major with a minor in Spanish. I chose to study abroad this semester in Cuenca, Ecuador to indulge in Latin American Culture and the Spanish language.
I am excited to share my experiences in Ecuador with the Mount community. I will be posting every Tuesday, and my concentration area is going to be mostly on the beautiful city landscapes and mountain and volcanic views in Ecuador – hence the hashtag… #MountMartes. Get it? Let me explain, Mount is such a versatile word, it represents the Mount, obviously, and it also represents my theme of the mountain and city ranges of Ecuador. For those of you who are not familiar with the Spanish language, I’ll explain what Martes means: It translates to Tuesday, which is the day I will be posting. Shout-out to Dr. McCarthy for your creativity and help with that one.
I have been in Ecuador for a little over a week at this point, and we have all submersed ourselves into the culture of this indigenous region. We first started in the country’s capital city, Quito, and then visited “Mitad del Mundo,” which is the Middle of the Earth. This is home to the equator line, and we were able to be on both sides of the Equator at the same time, standing in the Northern and Southern hemispheres. After Quito City, we traveled to the historic and iconic Amazon region. We explored the Amazon River and jungle, with our mosquito repellent of course, and indulged in the traditional Kichwa lifestyle. We visited a family who lives inside the rainforest and watched a woman make “Chicha,” which is a customary beverage to the indigenous Kichwa people. Afterwards, we went to the small town of Tena, right along the Amazon River, to see a woman make handmade ceramics and show us her process of design. After five quick days in the Amazon region, we traveled to the town of Alausí, which is a very old city, home to over 100-year-old structures and homes.
Okay, I know you are curious as to what my title is all about. Well, we took a trip with the devil. Well, the Devil’s Nose Train Ride. This traditional and daring train ride takes you along the curves and cliffs of historic Alausí’s mountains. As we were over 2,300 meters (7,600 ft) in the air, we were sure to take in some amazing and breath-taking views. This train ride was one of the most interesting and astonishing rides of my life. The train was equipped with traditional trainmen, and the atmosphere took us back in time. We even stopped for about an hour to see the traditional dancing of the Andean people and got to participate in their style of dance at the end of their performance. The culture and indigenous people made this train ride all the better. But, let’s get to the best part. The view. By being over 7,600ft in the air, we saw EVERYTHING. You could see for miles and miles away and the rolling hills were unending. The grass was so green and untouched, the clouds were so close you could touch them, and the rocky rivers were flowing smoothly. Although our trip to Alausí was only for a day, this train ride was one of the most memorable experiences of my life, and I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Ecuador.
I can’t wait to share my experiences with you as they continue to grow. Don’t forget to check-in for more of my experiences every Tuesday, and also look out for Tyler’s posts in Ecuador on Thursdays. For more content, follow us on Instagram—@msmutravels. Ciao!