Wednesday, February 4, 2015


Relaksacija v termalnem vrelcu, antistress terapija. ČIN, ponedeljek! #Pelicon#craftbeer #the3rdPill #hotspring #slovenia #dolenjska #igslovenia
Bad habits in natural soaks wherever, let alone Slovenia: glass! Source

Readers will be well acquainted with my preferences for natural soaking circumstances, so it's strange that this opening concerns the opposite. Or does it?

Innocent as it seems, a small article from impressmagazin (Sep. 20, 2014) on Rudas (natural) baths of Budapest, Hungary: 
'A new amusement spa section has been opened in the renovated Rudas bath, and a Jacuzzi and sun terrace have been built in the new roof garden'.
The Rudas baths are noted as one of world's finest (source), however with modernity catching up and blatant commercialism paramount even in Budapest, this expansion may well herald yet again a step towards preventing natural soaking, well naturally.
The Rudas baths are famous for offering same sex bathing times, thus enabling it to somehow relax bath attire to a degree; it becomes a come as you wish.
However with the desanitized ages now on us, the hot springs of Hungary and thus Budapest are weaning itself away from tradition and hoping to align itself with the modern culture in which body hatred rules. Especially that of the other.
Call me a pessimist but look at this recent review of the new facilities here. Mega glossy pictures. No mention that all weeks day the baths are C/O ...?
So it looks quite literally that money will rule and thus expect this h(e)aven for natural soaking to slowly disappear. All I can say is to enjoy it while you can ...

St Thomas, France, by Joan Robló

Other topicals.

A French article on winter baths (Nov. 24). Most developed hot spring sites, but a couple of more natural soaks.

Who has heard of the European Historic Thermal Towns association? I hadn't until recently. When doing more research on Spa / hot spring, I found out that Spa is a member. What does it do?

'Thermae Europae has been a 3 years cooperation project aiming at the valorisation and preservation of the thermal cultural heritage in Europe.
The objective of the network was on one hand to study, at a European level, the thermal cultural heritage, discussing and identifying the needs for its preservation and valorisation; on the other hand the network intended to promote thermal cities as real dynamic cultural centres, able to promote cultural and dissemination events at international levels'. 
It seems as though all the past their heydays hot spring towns around Europe have found themselves. A nice initiative but by the looks of it, heavily focused on talking and little on highlighting their natural heritage ...

#Montevago #terme #acqua_pia #agrigento #ig_agrigento #igersagrigento #click_italy #sicilysummer #sicilians_world #insicily #ig_sicily #top_sicily #cannoliacolazione #loves_free #loves_world #likes_sicilia #loves_sicilia #loves_village #loves_world#vivosicilia#visitingsicily #Vivo_italia #visitsicilia
Thinkgeoenergy (Jan 15) reports on efforts underway in Italy's Tuscany region to slow down the boom in geothermalpower:
'... the local population and the environmentalists seem to have concerns on the rapid expansion of this industry and the consequences it might have for the local economy.
Local news state that Enrico Rossi has presented a bill to the local environmental delegate with concerns that new permits should be issues with deeper investigations into the particular projects and more concern should be given on the impact that new projects might have'.

Nothing certain as of yet. 

It is surprising that there is some resistance to geothermal power generation. Try to google this and you find very little information. Mostly it's about rights of land owners versus the use of hot water. This seems to be an obvious point in contention.
This website notes a couple of Italian qualms:

'Geothermal power plants in the Mount Amiata area [southern Tuscany] emit in air a high variety of non-condensable products (CO2, H2S, NH3, CH4). In addition Geothermal gases emitted also contain traces of mercury (Hg), arsenic (As), antimony (Sb) selenium (Se) and chromium (Cr). Carbon dioxide is the main emission from the geothermal field. The greenhouse gases emissions from geothermal power plants cannot be considered negligible[1].
The Amiata aquifer, since the '60s has decreased by about 200 meters. There is evidence of the connection between the shallow aquifer for drinking water and the deep geothermal aquifer [2].
Mount Amiata is an high seismicity area and geothermal exploitation threatens to cause earthquakes'.

#holidays#bormio#pozza#acquacalda#hotwater#naturale#winter#relax #top#sun#december#friend#swim#mountain#happines#christmas

On the other hand, local economies are (becoming) so dependent on meagre investments, such that they have no other option than to embrace the only investment there is, in this case geothermal power. Thinkgeoenergy (Jan. 12):

'The global economic crisis has had an impact in all regions, but some areas, such as the Italian region of Amiatta has been especially hit by the downturn.
Many local small and medium companies have greatly benefited from the recent work done on the Bagnore 4 geothermal plant that has been recently inaugurate'.
Sascha's soaks
Fordongianus, Sardinia, Italy
Ancient roman hot springs. The two small pools in front of the picture (right) are approx. 38° and 42°C. The pools are quite deep: around 70 cm. The original hot spring is about 54°C and a complicated system mixes the hot water with cold water before the warm water goes into the pools. Romans used the hot pools to relax before and after invading parts of Sardinia. Soaking into 2000 years of history was a great experience. But you should know that soaking in the pools is forbidden. I did it nevertheless until the woman at the entrance office discovered me [on no!]. My evaluation: 3 stars (soaking forbidden, tourists around and a street is below). 
An alternative would be to soak in the river where the hot water flows in. No real stone pools were existing, but it should be easy to build something on your own. The water that flows into the river is the 54°C hot water, so you have to mix it or find a place that is not too hot. When I visited the place in June, the river was rather low, and it was not possible to dip the complete body into the water. Above the river is a street that you do not see when you are in the water, but you are not in the pure nature. If you follow the street, you will come to the communal hot pools that cost an entry fee. On a marketing brochure they looked like ordinary, but modern bathtubs. My evaluation: 2 stars (street above, I saw better hot springs).


And then lots of news bits from Iceland. 

Melissa Coci on (Dec. 29) seeks to soak in as many as possible natural hot springs she can fit in 3 days: 6. Could be more though. She does note:
'It’s now common knowledge that some locals have become disgruntled at their secret hot spots becoming not-so-secret. And that is fair enough'.
Waited all year to come back here! Check @sisterislands for more of that volcanic good-good! #iceland #reykjadalur #hotriver

Fruglafrolicker visits 5 hot springs. Again letting out some secrets .... 

This website has another list, acting as an alternative to the Blue Lagoon.

I heart Reykjavik (Dec. 26) has a six step guide on swimming in Iceland:
'Ever since I wrote this post about Five things to keep in mind for first time visitors in Iceland, where I touched on the subject of showering naked before entering Icelandic swimming pools, I’ve received a lot of e-mails from confused people that don’t quite understand the swimming pool protocols. I’ve got questions about whether the locker rooms are co-ed, whether we swim naked and whether it’s really true that you need to shower in the buff'. 
The guide though is pretty easy: choose a swimming pool, buy a ticket, undress, shower, put on swimwear, swim. Now is that really so difficult?

The writer does shed light on what he / she thinks as perverts:

'Obviously there are male locker rooms and female locker rooms, each with their own showers. We’re obsessed with cleanliness – not perverts'.
Funny how they ask foreigners to embrace their culture and decide to criminalize any other culture beliefs other than their own ...
Nordiska kvinnor som hänger nakna i grupp i natursköna landskap. Bättre känt som 1800-talsmålarnas bästa motiv. #vandringiösregn #varmakällor #iceland #någontypavvandringsled

Drops jumps on the same bandwagon, a few days later. This article is much more thoughtful and recounts the personal experiences of a English woman and getting to terms with Icelandic swimming pool habits. 

It's also encouraging to see that Icelanders have a healthy swimming scene, a fact also enjoyed by tourists. This contrasts to recent developments in the UK.

The Telegraph (Jan 30): 
'Almost half a million women in England have given up swimming in the past decade amid fears about how they look in the pool, according to research'. 
And the BBC (Dec. 29):
'“Swimming has seen a 245,000 fall in participation numbers over the last year, according to Sport England'.
Sources chaudes ! #sources #chaudes #guitera #corse #love #thermes
Corsica (France) has a few natural springs left ..., source

Balneario natural
And let's finish off with a couple of soaking patrons enjoying their soaks in Spain.

Hot spring hooligans emoji last year in Spain
Santa Fe, Granada, Andalucia, source

Así me lo monto #alhama #Granada #balnearionatural
Alhama de Granda, also in Andalucia, source

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Euro soaks visited