Thursday, March 7, 2013

Thermal Pools of Paipa, Colombia

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We found this wonderful retro hotel on-line.
Hotel Cabanas el Porton.
What was great is that we were the only customers in the whole huge place.
Traditionally Colombian in so many ways.
Sure it is a little tired, but it was neat, clean and the owner spoke English - 
a definite plus for us.
By the way - this town is pronounced "Piper".

Our room was nice and warm, and had an en-suite with hot shower and t-v and even a mini bar.

Outside were lovely gardens - well maintained and with a great terrace.

One of the things I loved about this place was the breakfast.
Served by a Colombian older lady in a maid uniform in an antique dining room.
She took our order, and we had a bit of a hand with Google Translate with their Wi-fi.
Then out it came on a silver tray - I felt special.

 I love the old wagon.
The only thing that made us stay one night her was the noise with the trucks.
Also the noise with the discos and night clubs and bars across the road til 2 am was not flash either.
But the location to the Thermals is great.

The lovely old veranda was great for a quiet read in the morning.

The first afternoon we found a reasonably priced souvenir shop in town.
We had walked in to find the Recycle Museum, but it had closed down.
So we headed back to go to and have a relax in the thermal pools.

That afternoon the hotel manager gave us a card to present at a nearby hotel with a thermal pool.
It gave us discount, which was good, as we didn't bring a lot of money.
We also had to buy these caps - the whole pool looked like the top of an operating theatre!

This water looks foul.
But it makes your skin feel so soft.
You can't sink either - well it is super salty!

 The best thing was a ten year old girl who made friends with my son.
She knew some English.
She taught him some Spanish.
It was hours of freedom - whilst I relaxed.

At the end of the night we had the worst Spaghetti I have ever encountered across the road.
I think my seven year old could make a better one!
We also discovered my son had lost his I.D. Bracelet.
Then there was very little sleep with the traffic and partying across the way.

We headed down the road the next day and walked around Lake Sochagota.
It is a really pretty area.

I am standing under the shade sails on the side.
Local vendors are setting up for the day.

We went to the police to report the lost bracelet.
They had 4 policemen basically give me a mild interrogation about my personal life, and that I completely understood - even if it was all in Spanish.
It left me sick in the stomach.
We decided to head to a major city to replace the lost ID bracelet, and really to get away from the police.  Two police beeped us as we went back to the hotel.
We felt followed, and very ill at ease.

That, and the lack of sleep from the night before.
We knew this night would be worse.
It was the weekend - and the drinking and partying would be all night.

I believe there are quite a few thermal and mud pools in Paipa.
Maybe next time we will find more.
It was a shame we left early, but it is a lovely town.

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