We were being pelted by rain as we slowly crawled through a dense, wet fog…
But that was on the ride home!
Our ride TO Araxá took us through the rolling, lush hills of Minas Gerais state, some steep and twisty roads, over a mountain top and back down into the valley where Araxá is nestled.
Araxá is of the many towns in this region of Brazil that are built above natural hot springs, and all the hotels here boast at least one spring-fed pool. You may remember we went to Caldas Novas to enjoy these types of pools. Araxá is smaller and doesn’t have the many water parks that make Caldas Novas so popular. But Araxá does have it’s own claim to fame: Taua Grande Hotel e Termas.
This sprawling resort sits just outside the city center and has a Russian/Turkish bathhouse-type spa that you visit for a daily rate of R$50. This gives you free reign of the entire spa area, including all of the heated pools, sauna and steam room. Chaise lounges are scattered underneath a stained-glass dome and murals and statues decorate the marble bath houses. It’s a relaxing way to spend the day, and extra services such as massages are mostly reasonably priced. The hotel itself is a stunning nod to European grandeur, with a lavish lobby filled with candeliers, oil paintings and Louis-something-or-another chairs and couches.
This makes for an equally lavish room-price, which is why we opted to stay at a more affordable hotel in town, where for R$120 per night we got our own chalet next to the pool, plus breakfast. It also gave us access to the city center, with its lovely square, complete with an art-deco-type fountain in the center.
The weather was on our side throughout our stay, but our journey home started with falling temperatures and a darkening sky. By the time we hit the mountain road, we were being pelted by alternating rain and mist and forced to drive slowly so as not to be blown off the road by passing cars and trucks. We had to repeatedly stop so Rodrigo could wipe off his visor, which was fogging up and covered in water. We could have used one of those helmets with the mini windshield wipers on them, like you see in cartoons! At one point, the visibility was so awful that we pulled over, got off the bike, and started laughing! I didn’t even take my helmet off because it was providing warmth!
As an inexperienced biker, it never occurred to me to bring extra layers or anything waterproof, since the weather had been so glorious. Needless to say, it was an adventurous and slightly miserable ride home!
Lesson learned: NEVER get on the bike without appropriate alternative-weather gear!
And as an aside, I would also say that despite the high price of rooms at the Grande Termas Hotel, I might be tempted to shell out for one night if we go back to Araxá. While I wouldn’t stay there for an extended period, one night might be a nice treat!