Jardín: the perfect place for hikes and relax
Even if we had only seen Jardin before we went to sleep, we knew that a whole day would not be enough. So the first thing we did was to extend our stay one more night and organize the laundry. Then we ate some cinnamon rolls with coffee for breakfast at a café in the plaza, bought a lot of drinks and a banana at the supermarket, and spontaneously started the hike to the Cueva del Esplendor, following the Maps.me trail. The start was very easy and it took us to the Cristo Rey and the viewpoint at the top. We kept going up and crossing gates to keep the cows in their place. We even got a little lost, but we found our way again, and after about 2:40h, when there were about 20 minutes left to walk, there was a locked door and 3 watch dogs. I wanted to turn around, but Alex convinced me to come in. Still, the dogs were scary, so we took a detour to avoid them, and after a bit, we came to a place saying private property, and again I didn't feel right about that. We retraced our steps until just after the dogs, where we saw some horses and waited to see if the people riding them came back. After a while, we decided to go to the house on the private property to ask for at least another way back.
And just then, we met a lot of people. They said they were coming back from the Cave and confirmed that this was the way. They told us to go to the house on the private property, but before we got there we met the guide with a group of 4 going to the cave, so we paid him directly and joined them. Super nice! We were a little sad for not having our bathing clothes, but it was quite cold when we started the hike, who would have thought. To get back, we had to go to the house and fill out the insurance papers that we should have signed in case something happened to us. The other four decided to go back the way we came, and we took the road back, the one everyone was walking up. It was a longer but easier road, it started raining, and we were hungry (remember, 1 cinnamon roll, 1 banana to share, plus three hours of walking and another in the cave), but we managed to get back in less than 2 hours. We bought many more drinks, took a shower, and had dinner in a place where we waited 20 minutes for a table and by the time we got one, it emptied. Typical. Before we slept like babies, we watched some Netflix.
We made ourselves a banana shake to start the day, before asking which room we had to switch to. The lady told me "it's a bit smaller and different", but I agreed to take it before seeing it for one more euro (since I had a big discount in the reservation). And I paid, and then we saw it, and well, it was a small double room, without a kitchen or anything. I got angry for trusting her. But it was still good, so during a good breakfast I got over it and went on a hike to the other side of the city.
We went to La Garrucha, the Hidden Waterfall (which we skipped since there was a gate and we didn't want to wait for someone to pay) and continued to Charco Corazón to swim and relax. Then we returned to Jardín, seeing the Cascada del amor on our way. I had to hurry to go to the bathroom in our hostel while Alex was having a coffee in the square, where I joined him. Then we went to a bar to watch the Champions League. After that, we bought sandwiches for the next day and got a coffee and the tastiest Waffle in Los Andes, where we also bought coffee. For dinner, we went to a stand called "Donde Luis", where Luis made us 2 incredible hamburgers.