Board the train in time for its 8am departure. This first section climbs steadily through the suburbs of Quito and beyond to fertile volcanic arable soils, from 2,777m to El Boliche at 3,547m. Weather permitting there are views of Antisana (5,758m), Corazón (4,788m), Illiniza Norte (5,120m). As the train approaches El Boliche, the perfect snowbound cone of the still-active Cotopaxi looms into view - 5,897m. Here, alight the train and head to a rose plantation. Visit the greenhouses growing 40 different varieties of rose. Roses and cut flowers are amongst Ecuador's major export earners, and there are demonstrations on how the roses are grown in this high-altitude equatorial region with its year- round temperate climate, and how they are harvested and packed for the international markets within 24 hours of picking. Continue to a local hacienda for lunch, afterwhich drive to the national park, and take a short walk on Cotopaxi's skirts. Hike around Laguna Limpiopungo, a gathering point for several species of hummingbirds, deer and small Andean wolf. In the summer months, green and purple gentians, Indian paint brush and blue lupine cluster like jewelled studs from between tufts of grass. Even from below the snow line there are panoramic views of the valley and surrounding peaks. Afterwards, transfer to a local hacienda to overnight.