Is 4am too early to be collected by a bus?
I didn’t think so either, and driving through the desert and into the alps as the early morning light began to pierce the sky was definitely worth it.
We arrived just after a glorious sunrise, which we ooed and ahhed at through the bus window. The steam emerged from the ground in every direction, but was particularly concentrated around a field of geysers out in the middle of a big flat area. Every now and then a burst of water would bubble out of the earth.
After buying our tickets to witness the 3rd largest geyser field in the world (don’t forget your student card for a discounted price), we wandered through the field, sticking to the clearly marked paths (apparently people have died here from walking off the path into the spewing hole of the earth, I imagine boiling themselves alive).
Each one had something different and we viewed a number of spectacles. The field was large enough that there was never really a crowd to contend with.
What made the field particularly spectacular was the back drop of snow covered mountains, and the frozen air that breezed right through us and all our layers, the wildlife that meandered around the field, braving the exploding hot water field.
After a while we headed to the natural thermal pool, where we were given the opportunity to take a swim and bathe in its natural warmth.
Getting into my bathing suit was a whole new challenge in the freezing morning amongst the mountains. The next excitement came shortly afterwards when I got into the pool at the wrong end. It wasn’t warm or hot, it was cold. I waded through the brown water and fought the small crowd of bodies (alive), and got to the source of the hot spring, a bubbling hole of clear water trickling into the brown…
it was sort of relaxing, but the cold wind nipped at my skin that was out of the shallow water, and the water didn’t remain at a good temperature, it was either too hot and then suddenly cold, or too cold and then suddenly boiling. An experience none-the-less and I’m sure all the minerals I was bathing in was good for my skin (right?).
Surrounded by a few Guanacos, the wild llamas, and steaming earth, the whole scene seemed to be out of this world, a place I had never experienced before. It was definitely worth the early morning pick up…
“It’s okay to let off a little steam sometimes” – advice from the geysers.
A few photos of the drive home, and a cool cactus wood church we stopped at where I had the best cheese empanadas and BBQed skewered llama.