December 21, 2013
We woke up to a clearer day today and decided to head to Termales San Vicente, more natural hot springs about an hour away by unpaved road from Santa Rosa. Set in a lush cloud forest, these termales are very different from the ones we visited yesterday. We scrambles over rocks and hiked deep into the forest to soak in the Pozos de Amor (“the wells of love”), natural pools of hot water. Sitting there with the lush unspoilt jungle all around me, I felt blissfully far away from civilization of any kind.
The amazing benefit of traveling with a baby sitter is that I had a few hours in the afternoon to enjoy some relaxation and treatments. After soaking in the hot springs with my kids, I went to a natural sauna (a hut built around steam that comes from below the ground) which was hot, hot, hot and really worked to relax every muscle in my body.
The sauna was followed by a honey and oatmeal scrub and a massage. The massage was great but the treatment was disappointing. They used honey flavored corn syrup, rather than honey, which smelled like lollipops. I hated having something artificial put all over my body after soaking it and cleansing it so naturally. Plus I walked out of there smelling like cotton candy. But oh well, it was a great day overall!
I have to say that Colombian have a reputation for being really nice and I am truly appreciating it on this trip. Bogotanos are also nice for the most part but it’s hard to appreciate this niceness while being cut off in traffic or having the door slammed in my face as somebody scrambles to get ahead of me or cuts in line. I guess it makes sense. Like citizens are any other major city around the world, Bogotanos are in a hurry. Outside of Bogota, however, I have found people who really live up to their cultural stereotype. The people we have met on this trip, have been really kind, going out of their way to help us with whatever we need and to assist us in being more comfortable in their country. They are chatty and curious about us and where we come from and why we are here (foreign tourists, especially with children in tow, are still enough of a rarity in most places and arouse great curiosity).
But back to our travels…. By 4 pm, we were soaked, massaged and relaxed and did the two hour drive to Salento, our next destination. Salento is a very quaint, small town and gateway to Valle de Cocora, a beautiful valley full of wax palms, Colombia’s national tree. We planned to explore the valley tomorrow but meanwhile, we reunited with my husband and had an amazing Indian curry dinner at Iliana’s. We were also excited as this Spanish/Colombian owned restaurant serves yummy pastas, vegetarian dishes and Thai and Indian concoctions. I have to confess that we were all really sick of local fare after several days of it. Grilled chicken and trout, sausage and French fries get old after a while. We were all craving vegetables and food that wasn’t fried. The kids fought over salad and kept ordering more, warming my heart.