One of the best parts about living in Santiago is how close it is to the Andes mountains and the quaint little towns and regions that surround them. Cajon del Maipo is a very popular mountainous get-away and is just south of Santiago. This past weekend my good friend and roommate Christina and I set out to Cajon del Maipo to a small villa called Baños Morales for some thermal bath action surrounded by mountains.
Without too much of a problem we found out where to catch the bus and settled in for about a 3-hour trip to the baños. The most remarkable thing about the bus ride was the pit-stop we took at a hutlike vender who was cooking empanadas on an open flame. It was almost as if I was on a roadtrip and not a public bus.
Once we arrived we bought some bottled water and heading to see the “thermal baths.” There was a small entrance fee of about $2-3 and once we were standing next to the baths we saw that everyone else had brought little picnic lunches. It didn’t take long for us to realize that we were starving as well. No worries though – we saw a nice little restaurant where we had gotten off the bus and headed back there for some grub before hitting the baths.
The food was excellent and that is coming from someone who often complains about chilean cuisine! Christina and I shared a lot of stories and laughs and she insisted on getting a picture of my devouring me food like I hadn’t eaten in months.
The view and atmosphere was amazing albeit a touch cold for swimming. Good thing the baths were thermal, right?!?! Well no, no they weren’t. They were definitely full of minerals but awfully lacking in the heat department. I went in for a while but also spent a good portion of time wrapped in my towel with only my feet in the bath. At least that way I could take advantage of the sunshine. And it was there that I had a good chat with a nice chilean guy. We discussed a bit of mountaineering and I hope to join him on a trek in the near future.
Now…I don’t want to drag down the pleasant mood of this entry but there was one downer in this 1-day excursion and that was that we went on sunday and when we went to get on the bus to go back, everyone and their brother also wanted to come home after spending all or some part of the weekend there. At first I couldn’t even find a seat when I boarded the bus about 40 minutes before it was scheduled to leave. Seeing as how I get motion sick enough from SHORT public transportation trips, I was really fretting having to stand for 3 hours. In fact, I wasn’t going to. I plopped my butt down on the steps near the back door. Not the safest option but, for me, it was certainly better than standing. Before we talk off the busdriver had mercy on me and found me a seat – and the day was saved!