Ourense Hot Springs

Attention readers! Shameless gloating about a place that most of you will never see–the Ourense hot springs.

Wonderous Spanish hot springs

Now, if you’ve hung out with me for any period of time, you’ve gotten to know my fascination with hotsprings. And if I’ve invited you to a roadtrip out to Cougar Hot Springs, soaking in the gorgeous pools while chatting with the nude hippies, consider yourself lucky.

Now, I’ve been in Spain for several months, and as the weather has gotten steadily colder, I’ve suffered from hot spring withdrawal. This all ended in the days after Christmas, when I managed to visit the springs in Ourense. Ourense has 7 different springs along the river–and many are completely free! Can you see why I had to visit? Aside from a bruise on my knee that still hasn’t gone away (and this is almost 2 weeks later), it was a resounding success.

The journey began with Quila and me hopping a train from Santiago in the early dark hours of the morning–it was 6:45, eww. However, the train doesn’t run to Ourense that often. 90 minutes later, we got off in Ourense, still in the pre-sunrise darkness. I was cursing the cheap trains that don’t have effective heating, and deeply in need of coffee. Coffee was supplied, by two separate Ourense cafés, and we attempted to wait for a little train to take us to the Outariz springs. But it never showed up, so we decided to start hiking toward a closer location (remember, 7 different ones!)

On the way to the springs, we hiked past this amazing bridge, the Miño. And yes–you can walk on the twisty part, all the way around! Admittedly it’s made of rusty metal and quite possibly will collapse underneath your feet, but it’s a gorgeous place to take pictures.

The springs themselves were wonderful, though a bit more regulated than I prefer. They are also clothing non-optional, which is no problem but a bit weird. Having grumpy people give you a discreet death glare for talking is less than ideal. And I managed to incur the wrath of the management by not wearing flip-flops. Hint: I don’t own any, they didn’t fit in my suitcase.  Of course, the fact that I slipped and bashed my knee on a rock didn’t really help my case when I was confronted by the guard-guy.

Now I have to check out the remaining 6 places–bring on the next weekend Galicia!


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