Monday, March 5, 2018


White mountains, even whiter butts. ...#Icelandwithfriends #skinnydipping#secretpool #mountainpool
A last (?) look at some of Europe's soaks enjoyed during the past winter. 
Above a blurry image of a quintessential soak in winter (or any season) on Iceland, here Seljavallalaug. 
Below, on the opposite side of Europe, it's deep in the south of Russia. And further south Georgia.

irrinnka95 at Pyatigorsk (Stavropol Krai)
Кайф🏊‍♂️🏊‍♀️🌍♨️♨️♨️ когда на улице 0…+2 и все в тумане, а ты валяешься в Бесстыжих ваннах в +50…+70 #bathroom#термальныйисточник2018#hotspring #Pyatigorsk #Пятигорск2018
extreme_chintamani at Kutaisi:
Такое место не найти в путеводителях по Грузии.Горячий серный источник в горах, показал нам местный житель, грузин и просто хороший человек, Константин🌈Пишите, если будете в Грузии, поможем;)#грузия#горячийисточник#путешествияпогрузии#чтопосмотретьвгрузии //Hot spring, Georgia.#georgia#chexcom#hotsprings
A nice (albeit with little new info) trip record on the hot spring of Prats Balaguer by onlylifeweknow (Feb. 19). A couple of pictures:

In the mountains in France, high up in the Pyrenees, we found the fountain of youth.A free hot spring/thermal bath far away from the civilization. We followed the rainbow In the snowy mountains On hairpin roads. After climbing the tough terrain and crossing rivers... We finally got to this spot. Nature is amazing. A waterfall with different levels, crazy hot water on the highest point and really wonderful temperatures a bit down. It felt like being in a spa, but better! There weren't many people there, just a few "hippies" that had their camp there, dream catchers hanging in the trees above. The sun was shining, the air was cold and made the water steam. Like a picture from a fairytale. We did like the few others their, took our bathing clothes off and enjoyed those natural pools naked, like the true hippies we are ;) This is probably one of the best places we have visited and we are defiantly going back!
Not far away are more natural springs such as the following.

Os presento uno de los sitios donde vengo a desconectar❄️🏔#termasnaturales #hotsprings #relaxing#lefrance #GoproFr #GoProFamily #goproes
banyet en ple hivern 🤗 #barranc#aiguestermals #hotwater#hotsprings#tregua #hivern #pirineu #cerdanya #france
Across the mountains, we have some Spanish contri's. 

Remojón!!#aguastermales #lahermida
More blogs and hot springs. 
Worldwidewohnzimmer (Dec. 27) heads for Termas de Santa Fe in Spains Andalusia:

'Zwischen diesen Plantagen führt eine von Schlaglöcherübersäte Sandpiste. Dieser Piste sind wir bis zum Ende gefolgt und waren am Zielort: Heiße Quellen in unberührter Natur. Ein Traum!'

'Wir sind jetzt seit ungefähr sieben Monaten unterwegs und benutzen fast ausschließlich unsere „Freiluftdusche“. Man kann sich nur schlecht vorstellen wie sehr wir uns auf dieses Bad gefreut haben. Im super heißen Wasser liegen und entspannen, endlich wieder ein Thermenfeeling. Herrlich! Wir waren mehrere Male im Wasser und obwohl einige Vans dort standen hatten wir den gesamten Swimmingpool immer für uns allein. Ein unglaublich tolles Gefühl, vorallem wenn die Außentemperatur gen null wandert'.


stlea at Grič pri Klevevžu
Swimming makes me crazy. But without it, I'd go insane.#hocempoletje #lejinemalenoreideje#iwantmyflipflops #wintertime #swiming#hotsprings #crazylittlethings #crazyideas

Despite the above (Slovenia), we now head to the many hot highlights on Iceland.

Icelandicnaturist tumblr tale, a hot spring from Iceland's southwest: 
I lost my best friend this week he was my first nudist friend and we explored many hot springs together. I owe him a lot, thank you N for introducing me to social naturism and being a great friend. I hope to see again one day. #naturism #sadtimes #socialnudism #hotspringsiceland
likealocaltravel at Landbrotalaug
Getting dusted in snow while soaking in a boiling hot natural thermal pool 🇮🇸 This is probably one of the best FREE things to do in Iceland.. what a magical experience!! Would anyone like directions? 🗺
First order of business in #iceland, naked #hotsprings! #warmerthanLA Thank you @icelandic.naturist for the tip! ..#nature #freedom #clothesoff #wanderlust#nudeart #artisticnude #befree#bodypositive#nojudgement #clothingoptional #adventure#explore..#mynudefreedom#getyournudeon #getyourassintonature#nakedinnature#livenaturism#baretobefree#nakedadventures#adventurebuns1
bighairygrowler at Hveragerdi
Got my own natural hot tub outside my apartment. This place is pretty sweet. Although outside is freezing so I still have to wear my wooly hat. The run back inside wasn’t fun ❄️ #frostandfire#hotsprings #gayiceland#bearsofinstagram#bearsontour #instabear #bears #gayholiday#wetbeard#wetbears #hairygay #hairychest#hairyman
libbymarch on tumblr:
farewell, 2017, i’m grateful for ya. for the snowboarding, the women’s march, new projects, my sister lauren’s graduation, establishing with @jtully, volunteering at my community radio station, shooting weddings, a summerful of great weekends with family & friends, swimming in rivers, hiking, standing up in my childhood friend’s wedding, bartending @coldmountaincafe, my first solo photo exhibition @42mapleartists, a group gallery show with @jtully, traveling abroad alone for the first time, exploring iceland, an amazing surprise weekend of friends from five (!!!) states, home for the holidays, & more snowboarding. 2017 was also about emotional conflicts, financial stress, body self-hatred, political despair, constant car chaos, battles with depression, & health issues that kept me from running the whole year. and yet, what a wild and precious life i have. there were and are a million little ways i failed my loved ones & myself, & lot of ways i tried to show up and be better. i often think about bailing on photography, to run out into the wild & never come back to civilization. but i’m not (yet) & i’m not making resolutions or promises to myself this year. the total reinvention cocktail can be intoxicating, but for me it’s always been toxic. the “new year new start” thing is a seductive illusion - as if i just had a little more discipline, i would charge forward & shed the flaws and failures of my old self, sailing into a brilliant unknown as some shining reborn being. not only is that impossible, it’s limiting. our journeys make us who we are. mistakes, and pain, make us human - and imperfections teach us empathy. our naked selves, not our curated ones, draw us together. vulnerability is a gift. what we do when we’re kicked and down defines who we are. in 2017, a lot of us felt got trampled. but it was a year of grappling, of dreaming, of reawakening. i don’t want to leave that behind. so i want to build on where i came from & keep climbing toward a better world & better work. old friends & new, favorite haunts & new adventures, inevitable failures, bigger dreams, same flawed, passionate, evolving mind & body. hello, 2018. (at Strandabyggð) 
desmondsmithfitness at Hrunulaug
You what they say…when in Iceland 🤷🏽‍♂️-Found a super secluded hot spring. Got naked. Drank a bottle of wine. Rolled in snow. Laid down in a glacier water river. Great success 👨🏻-#iceland #hotspring #fullmoon #blindingwhite#coldAF #airdry #paleo

Thursday, February 15, 2018


Usage of seaweed in a hot bath seems a no-brawnier. 
We all know the the benefits of bathing in heat. And the many qualities of seaweed are also well-known (source).

But somehow a seaweed bath has never become a common method of bathing. 
Other than in Ireland. 

And even here, it's seen as a novelty, something that is just surviving the changing times.

It was not always like this. On the extensive (and excellent) Irish website The Seaweed Site it has a section on seaweed baths:
'Seaweed baths are popular in Ireland, but are not a recent phenomenon as many date from Edwardian times, when they were more widespread than they are now. There were baths in most large seaside town such as Salthill, Co. Galway, and Howth, Co. Dublin. Essentially, seaweed baths are ordinary baths (usually for one person in a private room) filled with hot seawater and seaweed, generally wracks such as Fucus serratus. The wrack is generally steam-treated prior to use so that it releases minerals, trace elements, and polysaccharides such as alginates.Many people swear by the efficacy of seaweed baths in the treatment of rheumatism and arthritis'.
The website of Voya (seaweed based cosmetics and baths) adds:
'Seaweed bathing is a 300-year-old tradition and Ireland's only indigenous therapy.
The therapeutic properties of wild seaweed have long been known along the Irish coast. At the beginning of the 20th century there were an estimated 300 seaweed bath houses in Ireland and nine in the small town of Strandhill alone.
As a tradition, it had seen a significant decline due to population shift away from the Atlantic Coast, and the rise in non-Organic treatments'.
However, in recent times Ireland has seen a renewed interest in running the seaweed baths and taking a bath as a form of recreation. And as a beauty treatment.
The Irish Times (Jul. 26, 2005):
'The Irish seaweed industry has effectively doubled in the last five years and is worth €12 million per annum and employs more than 200 people full time and about 200 people part-time. While most of the seaweed harvested every year is exported for food and agriculture the health and cosmetic side of the industry is developing at home.The niche market of traditional sea baths and the continental-style thalassotherapy spas (thalassotherapy is the use of seaweed or seaweed extracts in health or beauty treatments) is ripe for expansion, says Guiry [director of the Martin Ryan Marine Science Institute at NUIG]'.
I've tried to explore whether or not bathing with seaweed has a wider appeal in the world.
It's quite difficult. 
One of the few I've discovered are the Reykhólar Seabaths on Iceland. From this blog, last year:
'It's a very interesting concept, find more info at Icelandmagazine (Jun. 7, 2016) has an article on the same: 'Landowners in the small village of Reykhólar, in the South Westfjords on the north coast of Breiðafjörður bay, are planning to construct a large geothermally heated seaweed spa and bath, offering travelers the opportunity to relax in warm water by the edge of the water'.
One reason for the lack of additional non-Irish finds lies partially in the difference between seaweed and algae. Basically algae are a much larger group of which seaweed is part of. See
'What is the difference between Seaweed and Algae?· Seaweeds are a group of algae, and have some special characteristics viz. macroscopic, multi-cellular, benthic, and marine.· Diversity of algae is extremely high and incomparable with that of seaweeds.· Algae could be both unicellular and multi-cellular, whereas seaweeds are necessarily multi-cellular.· All the seaweed species are autotrophic, whereas some algal species rely on other external food materials.· Algae inhabit both freshwater and marine waters, while seaweeds inhabit only seawaters.· Marine algae can distribute over shallow as well as deep waters, while seaweeds mostly inhabit shallow waters'.
But though the above may be clear, in non-English there's less to distinguish. In French f.i. both are algae. But even then there are precious few signs that seaweed bathing takes place elsewhere, with possible exception of Japan. 
Beats me. Why aren't there more similar experiences possible in other countries with seaweed in abundance? Canada, Norway, New Zealand, Chile, etc. ?

As it was to be raining all day, we decided to pay a visit to what might be one of the most prominent seaweed bath establishments in Ireland, that of Voya at Strandhill, a couple kms outbound from Sligo town, oceanwards. 

Even though it was a weekday during February, rainy and a hefty wind whipping up the normally surfable waves of Strandhill, the seaside village seemed to be doing good business. 

I couldn't discover where these visitors were, there wasn't much bizniz open. And at Voya Seaweed Baths we were assisted promptly.

The reception area is quite the upmarket beauty reception: nice ladies, lots of seaweed based cremes and assorted in view, but the whole process of inquiring and subsequent intro to the bathing process was very efficient and sincere.

For 55€ (and after 5 minutes wait), the two of us were lead to a room with two larger bath tubs, half filled with steaming water in which a bunch of seaweed is floating. 

In the corner there's a small steambath. Apparently steaming first assists the whole bathing process by pre-opening the skin pores. 

The whole procedure of undressing and redressing, steaming and bathing should take no more than 50 minutes. Even then, it's all very relaxing. 
The seaweeds are encouraged to use as a sponge so as to leave oily films on your skin.

katodunne on how the Voya experience looks likes:
Mmm @voyabeauty@something__memorable
If I'm not mistaken, Voya Seaweed Baths uses what they call Serrated Wrack (Fucus serratus) organically certified and hand collected nearby. From the wikipedia site noted I learn that this seaweed is home to Northern Atlantic shores. But I'm still wondering why bathing with seaweed is not more common.

A couple of other experiences, not necessarily  from Strandhill. 

The BBC (20 Oct. 2014):

'Sporleder averted his attention to photographing the experience while I changed into a bathing suit [?]. Climbing into the tub, I slid my body underneath the tangled seaweed and reclined. I pulled the oily strands between my fingers, added some hot water to the tub, and rubbed the flora into my skin.Once Sporleder was finished photographing, we alternated between the cedar wood sauna – a box that left only my head exposed – and the old-fashioned, brass-tapped tubs. The steam inside the box opened our pores to the biting Irish air, and the bath infused the seaweed oils right into our skin. The treatment is supposed to be followed by a cold shower – but I’m a Canadian who’s against being chilly'.
There's an article from the Guardian (12 Jan. 2013):
'We are sharing a cubicle at Kilcullen's Seaweed Baths ( on the edge of Enniscrone beach in County Sligo, north-west Ireland. I'm in a huge, ancient cast iron bath with crackled cream enamel, and I've decided to float on my back in the green water, piling the huge mounds of luscious fleshy seaweed all over me. I float easily in this salty hot water, and, as I close my eyes and breathe through the steamy fronds, I, too, feel like I'm on drugs'.
Piquenewsmagazine (Sep. 21, 2017):
'However, they tweaked the experience to provide something more upscale than the communal bathing of yore. At Voya, I have a private room of about 5 x 10 feet (1.5 x 3 metres). The walls are brown granite squares, one with a Celtic design, for an understated Irish theme. An attendant advises me to spend five minutes in my private steam room before entering the tub. I've also been briefed to soak my hair in the seaweed bath, and not to rinse it afterwards. My entire session will last 50 minutes.Thoroughly steamed, I climb in the bathtub and pull mats of seaweed over my chest. Fortunately, nothing swims out. The smell is mild, and the concept feels only slightly weird. A shelf by my head holds a lit candle, a pitcher of water and a cup. I entertain myself by taking seaweed selfies and wishing my arms were longer'. 

Euro soaks visited