Cycling Chile/Argentina '04 | Chillan Index Day 52 Day 54
Day 53: Termas de Chillan En Vapor

Up early to catch the 8:15 bus to the hot spring.

I struck a conversation with a guy working in Termas hotel and he gave us some pointers.

"Do you know where the heart of Chile is?" He asked me in English.
"Right here?"
He pointed backwards. "No, the south. That's where the real Chile is."

He was quite pleased when I told him we had spent so much time at "the south".

Other than the locals, we met a German/Aussie couple with their newborn son. Before he was 3 months old, the little fella had traveled more than 15 countries.

The bus ride was fine up until the last windy, gravel mountain curves. We both felt a bit of motion sickness. We missed the hotel stop and followed the bus all the way to the end.

A water park kind of building was closed. We were not sure where to go. The couple headed back to the hotel while we followed a group of hikers going up a steep slope. They were on a weekend termas hike.

The trail is heavily eroded. At the top of the slope we could see steams and there were several mud pools. They were pretty small so we couldn't do anything other than watching the bubbles. Three workers were building a hot water collector.

Slopes in the distance were dotted with snow. A ski area was still idling. We snacked a bit and started going down the back way around, hoping the trail would lead us down and meet with the main road.

We soon found ourselves on walking track covered with snow. To our left is a valley. Much further down, we realized the main road was not going to happen soon.

It was a lovely walk. Coming down another slope, we heard music and ultimately stumbled upon a campground, Camp Valle Hermoso. What a surprise! And they had termas pool, normal pool too.

We bought some soft drink and admission to the termas. We were probably the only foreigners there. After a nice picnic lunch, we were in. Pool #1 was nice but #2 was much warmer at 38C. It was quiet and spacious, only three women were inside. They like to rub mud on each other. Face, back, and the older lady even had her buttocks rubbed.

Autumn leaves brightened up the already brilliant blue skies. We enjoyed very much the basic facility with priceless scenery. When we got out of the termas and on our way to the bus stop, we both smelt like, you know what.

We walked further up the road to the stop outside of Termas Hotel. The young couple were there too. They had to pay almost 10 times more to use the pool inside the hotel.

The ride back was quite violent. We both felt sick and I was so on the edge. I even had a bag ready. I can smell the termas and recall how I feel whenever Brian mentions Termas to me. On the flip side, the driver cut the driving time by at least a quarter.

Back to Chillan, we went to a Spanish restaurant for dinner. It's always scary to walk into a place with no other customers. The owner was nice but he was already drunk. My tortilla came out as an omelet and Brian finally had enough of the sausages.

Brian's bike lock had already arrived at the hosptaje. Patricia was burning incense. The smell only made me feel sicker.

Index Day 52 Day 54