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After a decent nights sleep at 11,300′ above sea level it was time to head downhill.  As I said yesterday landslides have close parts of the track we were to take.  So a nice comfortable <insert sarcasm here> 4 hour bus ride was the only way to continue.  We’ve learned that train travel is quite nice.  Buses, are well, buses.  You can’t wander around or go outside.  Our guides Alex and Gaby have been amazing as well as TrenCrucero.  They managed around something that they can’t control.  We can’t say enough good things about them.

Last night’s hacienda.  Lovely, except for the neighbour’s bloody dogs who decided to bark at air at 5:00 in the morning.

Anyway, after our ride on a bus we stopped at Hacienda Danesa that farms cocoa, sugar cane, and beef and also run a tour and a very small villa business.  Absolutely stunningly beautiful.  So stunning we forgot to take many pictures!   The hacienda is home to two very chatty parrots and gorgeous gardens.

We did another cocoa tasting and learning how it’s produced.

A better shot of the pod.

Dried beans

We then hand ground them and tasted 100%.  Then added sugar and re tasted.  It’s incredible how much diversity there is in taste.  It may have spoiled me for future chocolate.

The process in a nice photo.

The grinder we used.

Then an incredible lunch.  After lunch we boarded (finally) the train and rode it till we picked up a steam engine.


 From Yaguachi train station the magnificently restored steam locomotive that will pulled us up to the Duran train station in Guayaquil. 

As we descended over 11000 feet we learned that in this area around 1800, naturalist Herr Hambolt (the guy who discovered the major South American current) noted that for every 600m of elevation change it was equivalent to 1000KM north or south of the equator flora and fauna wise.  Not bad for a single valley!

We ended the day by saying good bye to our train tour group and the train portion is now over.  It’s been incredibly awesome but tiresome as 530 wake ups and 12+ hour touring takes it’s toll on us.  Totally worth it though.   Tomorrow we fly to the Galápagos Islands to start the next part of the adventure.  

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