After our group was done seeing the condors at Cruz Del Condor this morning, our bus continued on to the town of Chivay, where we treated ourselves to a divine visit at the hot springs there. Unlike the so-called hot springs at the oasis (in the Cañon del Colca itself), these springs really are hot. Proper thermal temperature of about 40°C. And really nicely done, too, with the water fed into very clean, tiled swimming pools, and with lockers and hot showers as well. Just what we needed, to soothe those aching muscles, after a demanding three-day hike.
When we finished our hiking for the day — this being our second day in the Cañon del Colca — we arrived at a little tourist retreat at the bottom of the canyon, called "the oasis". The place claims to have "hot thermal baths": but sadly, it doesn't quite live up to this claim; the palm-encircled pools in this place aren't much more than a chilly 23°C or so. However, it's still a beautiful place, and a great location for relaxing and getting some serenity before hiking like mad, back out of the canyon.
We got up early to see a geyser erupting into the sunrise this morning and then we only had to endure the cold for another five minutes. Before we knew it, our Salar de Uyuni tour group had arrived at the most fabulous hot-spring-heated thermal bath ever! The air was absolutely freezing this morning. This made it only all the more unbelievably pleasurable to jump into a pool of app. 42°C hot water (also a bit painful, at first). Followed by a delicious breakfast of pancakes, and a visit to the Laguna Verde itself. Great end to a fabulous three-day tour.
For my last full day in Potosí today, I decided to visit the nearby thermal baths of Tarapaya, which are naturally warmed by the waters of the hot springs that come forth in this little area. Found a deal in Potosí, where you can hire a bike for the afternoon, ride down the 25km, nicely-sealed, mainly-downhill road to Tarapaya, relax in the hot springs at your leisure, and then return to Potosí via combi (just whack the bike on the roof). Great ride, and a very nice way to relax and get more clean, after yesterday's filthy and exhausting mine tour.
I really am having bad luck with the old shoe department today. First there was the incident with the wet money; and then I had this: declining to bring shoes — or footwear of any kind — when I really, really should have done otherwise. The hot springs of Santa Teresa are absolutely divine; but when they assure you that you're getting a lift all the way there, don't count on it. You never know when you might need a bit of footwear.
Ordered this big fella with my (overpriced) lunch at Chichén Itzá. It's got a whole lot of different fruits in it, including strawberry and mango. The cup itself is also quite an attractive number — it could hold enough tequila in it to help intoxicate thousands of poor, sober Ethiopians.