Today we’re in Manizalés, were we’ll be staying only one night before heading to Medellin.
After yesterday’s hiking day, with its long 6 hours hike (well okay, we did loose 1:30 because we were lost, but still !), we thought we had kind of earned some time in the thermal baths of Manizalés, which are close to the city (and much much cheaper than the touristy baths near Medellin).
Turns out, the supposedly small jump from Salento to Manizalés (well, small as in 86km but still a 2h30 bus ride, theoretically) was longer than expected. Indeed, they somehow managed to close off the only 2 roads leading to the city from the west for over 2 hours (we don’t really know why, even our bus driver didn’t know !). So it took almost 5h to reach Manizalés.
Good thing we left Salento quite early (and the baths close only at 10 pm), so we still had time to lazy around in the small three warm baths (28°C, 35°C and 40°C, and no, I won’t convert this into retard units :p). So yes, they’re quite small, but we were almost the only one (besides seniors, which also have nothing to do on a weekday, and students after 6 pm). It was pretty cool.
We did manage to speak to a few Colombians who were also lazing around in the hottest pool. So we trained our Spanish and learned a bit more about the life in this country. For example, if there is a public holiday in a week, then you don’t work the next Monday (but you do work on the exact day of the holiday !).
When we got tired of lazing around in a hot pool (yes, that can happen !), we got back to the city with a bus, and so we got a free (although very rough) massage from the bus seats. Because here the city is a bit like Quito, nested between mountains, it has very steep slopes. And the small buses from Manizalés (the busetas, the name is cute, riding them is not) are driving at a breakneck speed through the sloping and not very good quality roads. So yes, free massage !
We then went to see the cathedral (ok, we only have a shitty photo, we were starving so we didn’t really take the time to take a good one). So we ate near the cable car station, and then took the cable car which brought is to the bus terminal (we’re in a low quality hostel near the bus terminal again, but we’ve seen much worse than this one and its cheap !).
The cable car was quite nice, and probably very useful in terms of transportation considering all the distance it covers over the inhabited slopes of the city. It also offers quite the panoramic view of the city (although as we stayed quite long at the thermal baths, we had to do with the night view, but it’s also nice).
Ok folks, that’s all for today. Tomorrow morning, it’s bus (great, another 5h bus, and the 5h are theoretical …). More news from Pablo Escobar’s town in the next post !