I have been told condors have been seen over the mountains of Termas de Chillan and near Lake Colbun,Chile, but are primarily found in Peru, N. Venezuela, N. Colombia and Patagonia.
The Andean condors can live as long as 50-60 years and can fly up to 18,000 feet. They are on the average 4 feet tall, weigh 10-20 pounds and have a wing spread of 10 feet. They are the largest flying birds in the world!
Some people don't particularly find these birds attractive, but Chile sees these birds as symbols of strength and grace, thereby giving them an honored position on Chile's National Coat of Arms.
For more information on Andean Condors see www.lairweb.org and www.brookfieldzoo.com.
The spa at the Gran Hotel was a thing of wonder! Many services were offered and the treatment was first class! Over the four days we lodged at the hotel, I scheduled a French manicure; a 60 minute facial and a 80 minute massage with reflexology.
Never have I felt so pampered with such great result. I walked on clouds after my massage! I would say my visit to the Termas de Chillan spa was one to remember!
Aquaerobics were given each afternoon in the thermal waters. The depth was up to my neck, so exercising in the water made it challenging for me to stay on my feet. However, it was an invigorating activity!
The waters varied each day in temperature, but at one point the reading was 108 degrees. The thermal pool was indoors, but a small channel allowed swimmers to make their way outside to a warm pool of water, as well. Sitting areas were built into the edges of the pool with jacuzzi jets spewing water onto your back. A fountain in the center of the pool shot streams of hot water into the pool--some gathered there for a thermal shower!
One evening a group of us walked a short distance with guides to the golf course, where a telescope was set up to view the heavens. The sky was clear, so that a myriad number of stars could be seen strewn across the universe. I can?t remember a time when so many stars were visible.
We took turns viewing the sky through the telescope, which our guide had focussed on the planet Saturn and its rings. High powered binoculars allowed us to study the craters of the moon. The Southern cross was pointed out to us--something not visible to the Northern hemisphere. Our night of viewing the skies was awesome!
Each day an oxigenation walk was given by guides who would discuss various plants, flowers, trees and creatures of nature as we followed the trails near our hotel. Although our family would walk the trails each day after breakfast, the guided walk took us further to the rescue dog kennels.
Alaskan Malamutes are used in competition and in rescue during the winter ski season. We saw the lead dog, a sturdy tan and brown alpha male; also, a frisky puppy whose shy mother stationed herself nearby to make sure her offspring was protected.
We saw many different types of lizards in the woods on our routine morning walks. They were small and quick, but I attempted to capture the photo of one or two of them which didn't turn out.
I was amused to find Flamenco lessons available at the hotel, so I had to look into them. There were only six of us wanting to get a sample of this dance.
Our instructor oozed sensuality at she guided us expertly through a pattern of steps to lively music. It was a great deal of fun and I only hope I remember some of the steps to show my husband!
When I returned to the U.S. I searched for a CD featuring Flamenco music and was successful! Whenever I want to remember my Flamenco encounter I only have to put on the music.
Each morning at 9:15 am Yoga classes were given at the hotel. Our instructor was Maria, who had studied yoga for ten years. We began with stretching, then were shown various positions in Yoga. We each had mats on which to sit or lie upon. The exercises were wonderfully relaxing and prepared us to meet the day head on!
My favorite part of the class was a relaxation technique used to calm our thoughts and tense muscles. The instructor named each part of our body that we were to concentrate on relaxing, then we were to allow our minds to focus on peace and love.
Those who desired to go to Valle Hermoso gathered at the reception desk, then boarded a bus provided by the hotel. We drove a short distance (10 minutes) to a public thermal springs where our guide told us a little about the plants and trees in the area.
Araucario Araucana, a tree which grows only one centimeter a year, is a protected species because it has become so rare. The tree we saw was 80 years old. The fear is that it will become extinct. The specimen we examined was female, but did not have fully developed fruit or pinecones because there was no male species in the area.
We also were shown a shrub like plant with berries that was said to reduce fevers. One woman in the group testified that her mother dried the stalk of this plant, grated it into hot water which she was given to drink as a young child. Her fever disappeared overnight.
Our hotel provided a sheet of activities available for each day. On our third day, a walk to Gruta los Pangues was scheduled, which began at our hotel and continued down the hill for about 1 1/2 miles.
It was a dusty walk, as passing vehicles churned up clouds of dust that settled on us. A St. Bernard dog escorted us down the hill and up the mountain, ready at a moment's notice to rescue us if necessary. At a certain point our group of walkers halted to ascend the mountain path to the grotto.
A handrail and dirt trail wound up the side of the mountain until reaching a large outcrop of rock from which cascaded a waterfall. Carved into the stone face of the mountain was a niche holding figures of the Virgin Mary and other saints. Once a year a procession is made to this spot for an annual blessing.
A wood bridge crossing a deep crevice in front of the waterfall, allowed us to appreciate the beauty of the falls and forest below. We had to be careful of our steps, as little stones shifted and slid away from the path. Once we had the opportunity to photograph the falls, we wound our way back to the bottom where a bus was waiting to haul those who wanted to ride rather than walk back to the hot
It's not just a school, it's also a local where the walls of the library inside have been completely painted by 2 famous local artists : Xavier Guerrero and David Alfaro Siquieros...
Ce n'est pas qu'une ecole, c'est aussi un lieu dans lequel 2 artistes locaux, Xavier Guerrero et David Alfaro Siquieros, se sont complement laches sur les murs de la bibliotheque, notamment...