Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What's brewing ...

This website has the distinction of focusing on what remains of the natural state concerning hot springs of Europe. Most news is bad news, i.e. another source falling victim to development. Thus the re-existence of a lost hot spring is some good news.

On the Canary island of La Palma lies the town of Fuencaliente. Despite this being a direct translation of hot springs there were none.
'Fuencaliente means “Hot Spring”. The southernmost municipality takes its name from the hot spring which seeped out into pools on Echentive beach. It was famous for curing all kinds of sickness, including leprosy and syphilis, so Fuencaliente used to attract sick people from all over Europe and even South America. That’s the setting for “A Star in the Water”, one of the stories in “The Seer’s Stone“.
And then Volcan San Antonio erupted in 1677 and buried it under 40 metres of lava'.
Apparently it was rediscovered in 2005 deep down in the earth and a tunnel was built to assist in finding the water. 
But only just recently have the public been allowed to access the tunnel (source) which gives access to a few small, what best could be described as, puddles. Wonder what the future plans are .... 

I'll be heading to south Spain later this year. It's always fun to seek out what lies ahead. Who has heard of Cuevas Hammam Abuelo Jose near Guadix, Andalucia? Well, it might not be totally what I'm looking for, but north of the Sierra Nevada are a number of wildish hot springs to visit. Coming to you soon?

I'll have to look this place up:

'Termas de santa fe. Granada, Andalucia. #dragon #festival #granada #santafe #termas #hot #water #onelove #burnbabilon #chillout #relax #takeiteasy #yah #jungle #paradaise #fucknormal #freeparty #rave #kaotik #fyahburn #runaway #roadtozion #happiness
Coming up as a regular feature in future postings here, we will have the honour of reviews from around Europe by Sascha: let's term them Sascha's soaks:

Sascha's soaks
Ischia, Italy
On Ischia, there seem to be three natural hot springs. All the other are commercial ones, whereas some of them are very beautiful and definitively recommended. Two of the three natural hot springs are only usable at low tide. 
When I was there, I could see the hot water coming out of the sea, but there was not enough hot water to soak. The one which remains, is on the sea near Sant Angelo (Sorgeto). The water comes out of the rocks at 90°C and flows into the sea. In some areas cold water needs to be mixed up, on other places the water keeps the same warm temperature. Unfortunately, this spot was too touristic for me, as you can see on the picture.
My evaluation: 3 stars (I prefer pools with a constant temperature in a less touristic spot).

Around the continent
Further afield: Abkhazia. Apparently named Kyndygsky (or Kyndyg) hot spring, the water is boiling hot. Used to be a lot more primitive, seems that new Russian money has arrived. But where are the soakers?

Кындыгский горячий источник emoji вот так выглядит днем emoji Скважина считается высокотермальной, температура на выходе около 100 градусов. Настоящий кипяток. Вода течет по системе желобов и постепенно охлаждается до температуры приемлемой для человеческого тела. Здесь можно принять мощный напористый горячий душ и искупаться в нескольких бассейнах. Также есть лечебные грязи. Вода хлоридная, кальциево-натриевая pH 7,5.

Where does Europe stop / start? The picture below is from a muddy hot spring in Armenia (source). On the edge of Europe? The hot spring of Hankavan is not really muddy, more sulpheric.

#hotspring #thermal #mudbath #Estonians
Via my tumblr site, Noel sent me a dozen or more photo's from a visit to Rennes les Bains:

'Rivière salé de Rennes les Bains. Cet endroit se nomme “La fontaine des amours” Elles se trouve à Rennes les Bains dans le sud de la France. Sur les bords de celle ci se trouve un lot d’inscription datant de 1800 voir 1851. Plein de messages d’amours y sont gravé dans le roc et les arbres bordant cette rivière. Beaucoup de couple y viennent de nuit var il y a de jolies bassins étagés. Non loin de là à moins d’un kilomètres se trouve une source chaude ferrugineuse ainsi qu’un lavoir que l’on nomme ” les bains forts”
Source chaude des bains doux de Rennes les Bains dans le sud de la France. Cette une eau chaude à 33° en permanence été comme hiver. L’eau sort en dessous des anciens thermes. Le 26 septembre 1992 il y a eu une très grosse inondation qui à littéralement nettoyé le rivages. Cette une eau thermale de très bonne qualité…'.
CNN (June 27) has a presentation on Hungary's best spa's, all based on thermal waters. The article also seeks to warn it's readers:
'There's an emphasis on health and well being, so many of the facilities are more functional than plush'. 
What's wrong with functional?

Did we know that Iceland is hiding hot springs from us unsuspecting folks? My1stimpressions:
'Hidden in a canyon of lava stones difficult and dangerous to reach for those who are not used to, there is a hot spring of clear blue water waiting for you. The place is like a hidden forgotten paradise on Earth. At times it gets really full of locals who use to go there to bath and drink in company. Sometimes they enlight candles in it, making the atmosphere even more magic. They say young Icelanders are allowed to get down there only when they are teenagers, and imagining the adventure that means at that age makes you feel jealous of them.
Tourists are not allowed. The place is in a private property whose landlord has allowed locals to bath in it. Only locals. No tourists please. That’s what makes this place special. It is still a place where you can find the pure Iceland'. 
But the you used, is not you

Hrunalaug source

But don't count the inventiveness of the tourists out. The Reykjavik Grapevine (May 3):
'RÚV reports that construction workers for the tunnel found themselves in the position of having to act as lifeguards as well. About half a dozen tourists were spotted – and photographed – bathing in a steaming creek of water near the construction area.
While the heat of the water is a comfortable 40°C, it is not one of Iceland’s many natural geothermally-heated creeks and pools. Rather, it is run-off from the drilling of the Vaðlaheiði tunnel, near Akureyri'.
The Iceland Review  (July 18) keeps us abreast of the legalities of admission fees in Iceland for the use of what are essentially nature's gifts:
'The magistrate in Húsavík has placed an injunction on the collection of admission fees at the hot springs by Námaskarð and the Leirhnúkur-Krafla caldera, by the Association of Landowners at Reykjahlíð'.
However then comes the following news (Iceland Review, July 25): 
'Travel agencies have been warned not to take tourists to certain areas near Lake Mývatn after an injunction was placed on fee collection in the area, in particular to the hot springs near Námaskarð and the caldera of Leirhnjúkur-Krafla where the landowners at Reykjahlíð have been charging for admission over the past month'.
The gloves are off?

A bit off-topic (well not really): the Guardian (25 April) gives us a Top 10 Wild swimming locations in Italy. Great natural places to be. It includes Terme del Bullicame in Lazio near the Tuscan border.

Talking of Tuscany, if you're interested in other uses of geothermality you need not to look any further than there. The novel part, as reports thinkgeoenergy (July 23), is that geothermal steam is now an integral part of the process of brewing beer with names as double malt Magma, Sulfurea pale ale and the Weiss Geyser!
'A huge range of products have been created thanks to EGP’s geothermal energy in the small towns of the Tuscan hills. A number of agricultural enterprises in Monterotondo Marittimo use steam from EGP’s plants in the production of their pit-aged cheeses, just like pork meat factories do for the aging of their Cinta Senese sausages. The geothermal menu also includes vegetables: each year Parvus Flos, a cooperative in Radicondoli near Siena, produces more than 12 tonnes of organic basil that is cultivated in 20,000 square metres of greenhouses heated with steam from EGP facilities'.
Day Four: I spent the whole day swimming in the hot springs just outside Valencia! It was amazing!! #valencia #spain #hotsprings #eurotrip 

Not really hot, the Fuente de Los Baños springs delivers waters at about 25 C. Weekends see big crowds.
Earlier this year, Nomadikat visits Bursa, Turkey and does the hamam at Karamustafa Kaplicalan. Her account:
'"Turkish baths are a traditional thing," Mehpare explained, "Not many young people go anymore. Turkish Baths are not at all hip – they are considered to be somewhere our grandparents go." She went on to explain how some doctors prescribed visits to the Turkish Baths for various medical conditions, from arthritis to herniated discs. That explained why a lot of women were not in the best shape, and watching a bunch of half-naked women scrub one another was not exactly the scene from a stag film that one might imagine.
At first, I wore my bikini, as I initially did not want to go topless. I was slightly uncomfortable, and a bit plagued by my American nudiphobia. This would be cured, though, by the time I went for my massage. All of the women at the bathhouse were totally topless. It was normal practice to be almost nude'.
Eventually though she loves the experience though hates the lack of hygiene.

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