Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fuentes Georginas

July 9th

A day out!

We ride 18kms out of Xela with Anna and Ali to some hot springs at 'Fuentes Georginas'. It's a stunning ride south of the city to Zunil and then up a steep track to a volcanically heated natural pool. I'm really excited - it's my first bath since Klamath in Northern California....

Volcanic soil is highly fertile and coupled with the almost daily rain storms during the wet season, it's prime growing land.

We climb the side of a steep valley and look down on a child's drawing - patchwork fields and a picture book perfect 'U' shaped canyon. Puffy clouds and swirling mists lend drama to the scene....

Fuentes Georginas!

Picture dense undergrowth - fern leaves straight out of a dinosaur movie; giant trees dripping in the humidity.

Set in the rock wall is a natural hollow. Water dribbles from hidden springs, lava-heated to a comfortable bath-tub temperature. Cool rain spatters the pool that forms, green from minerals and dimly reflecting the emerald vegetation. There's a strong smell of sulphur in the thick air and a dense layer of condensation forms from the heat.

We are early and this secluded grotto belongs to us alone....

Susy is a happy bunny....

And why not - this is the life!!!

It's wonderful. A little eden of perfectly formed nature.

But it cannot last, and in time, others arrive - breaking the spell of this magical place.

It's OK though, they bring food and are more than happy to welcome us to their beautiful country with tacos and cold, fresh coconut juice. Their hospitality and friendliness is amazing.

But this mineral heavy water is slowly turning my skin to smush and I am wrinkled and look like I've aged a thousand years when we at last drag ourselves away. We feel incredible though and the waters are alledged to have healing properties - a claim that is easy to believe as my previously squeaky knees now glide and slide like a slippy slidey thing.

The rain eases up and the other side of the valley becomes visible as 3 tiny cyclists roll past crop laden fields.....

Up close, they are vivid and busting with ripeness (the crops - not the cyclists)....

A sample....

The descent is a screamer - a zooming series of zig-zags made slippy and exilerating by the rain....

Every country should have a 'Fuentes Georginas' and I'm applying for planning permission for one in Manchester....


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