Wow I am so behind on this blog! After spending all day in front of the computer at work, by the time I get home I’m never in the mood to get on for another couple hours to write a post. I’ve also been really busy doing fun things, as you’ll see below.
The most famous landmark in Araxá is the giant Grande Hotel in Barreiro, a neighborhood about 15 minutes away from the city. If you do a google image search for Araxá, you might think it’s the only thing in this town because the majority of the pictures are of the hotel, which is funny because it’s not even really in the city.
The resort was built by the government in the 1930 – 40´s to capitalize on the hot springs here and bring tourism to the area. It’s a good case study for why governments shouldn’t build hotels… the thing is so huge relative to the size of Araxá (and so expensive), that I don’t know how much business it gets. But the area around it has beautiful lakes and hiking and lots of people go bike riding and running there on the weekends.
On one of my first weeks here my boss took me there with some other people who were visiting from São Paulo. It was night time on a week day so we couldn’t do much outside but we got to go to the spa which was practically empty. Inside it hasn’t been remodeled from the original design and fixtures, and that plus the darkness and emptiness really gave it a sanatorium feel. And one of the guys who came said he couldn’t stop thinking about the shining. But the creepiness made it feel like more of an adventure.
The spa itself had a sauna, by far the hottest one I’ve ever been in, thermal baths decorated with really pretty Portuguese tile, and a water jet massage that seems to be unique to the hotel. You go into a tiled room with one of the spa employees and he stands on one side with what looks like a small fire hose, and you go on the other side and he blasts the heck out of your body. I think I prefer normal massages, but this one was more exciting and did feel really good on the bottom of the feet.
I went back to Barreiro with my co-worker Diana the next weekend. It was a beautiful sunny day and there were tons of people running, biking, barbecuing , drinking coconuts, and riding horses (!) Of course I would love to ride around there but the horses looked pretty mistreated so I’m not sure if it would be good to support their business…
When I had been researching Araxá before I came I stumbled upon this really cool place on Google Maps that looked like the set of an Indiana Jones movie – The Radio Hotel Ruins. It was the overgrown ruins of a previous hotel built nearby in 1910. According to this highly reliable source, the hotel began to fall into disrepair when a woman committed suicide in one of the rooms and the guests and employees began to hear strange sounds and to see figures walking the halls of the hotel.
Oh and just to complete the creepiness, the hotel isn’t named after the device for listening to music, it’s named after the radioactive water in the region. There’s another point nearby where you can drink the sulfurous water and it’s supposedly healthy. Is that true though? I thought the reason humans think sulfur tastes bad is because we are supposed to stay away from it….?
Well that’s all for now! Just a couple more photos. Até mais!