July 29 (Swimming, you say, in a warm yellow pool?): PART ONE

At least that’s what Tricia and David had told us was heavenly, and now Martin was echoing their sentiment.

Hmmm…. a warm yellow pool to swim in. Sounds, well, intriguing. We had tried to locate it a few days earlier only to get dizzy driving round and round and round on tiny streets.

With a new determination off we set on a Tuesday (July 29th) to test their delight in lolling around in the hot springs located in Furnas, a village renown for its thermal therapeutic waters.

This lovely town nestled amidst boiling, plopping mud and sulphorous and iron springs actually became a popular destination thanks to an American in 1770, Thomas Hickling.

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As the US counsel and a successful orange merchant (a major export until the late 1800s), he built his ‘Yankee Hall’ right above a thermal spring.

In addition to the springs, he also began his garden, Terra Nostra, later expanded twice by two successive owners: Visconde da Praia upon purchasing the land in 1848 and then again in the late 1930s by Vasco Bensaude. Featuring exotic as well as endemic plants, Terra Nostra had become a major tourist attraction. No wonder. It is quite magnificent, and that’s from a non-gardener’s point of view.

Before we partook of the yellow pool, which by now I had termed the warm, piss-yellow pool, we strolled through the grounds. And, I began snapping photos.

First, the gardener’s house (labeled on the brochure).

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Followed by a bat house,

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the cycadales garden,

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one of the camellia gardens,

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some red, spiky blossom,

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a chicken-bird,

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white agapanthus (I looked that one up) versus all the blue lavender ones bordering the roads,

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a calla lily for our friend Calhoun,

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water lilies,

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a startling pinkish leaved plant,

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a human,

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more water lilies, only a different color,

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even more water lilies, only this time no flowers,

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a topiary garden,

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and, ducks (these, I recognized).

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Now, it was time for our dip. So, we changed in the (clean) changing rooms, I, mistakenly in the mens, and headed for the warm yellow pool (oh boy).

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It wasn’t sulphorous but iron-filled, AND, it WAS just as all had described it: heavenly.

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especially where Max stood under one of the two pulverizing spouts of really hot water.

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and later floated on his back against the wall.

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We weren’t the only ones enjoying these relaxing waters.

One of my favorites was this little girl who kept jumping into her mother’s arms only to repeat her aquatic feat over and over

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with no diminishment of joy.

So, if you’re in the area and are looking for some heaven-sent R&R, there’s always the warm yellow pool in Furna :)

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