submit to reddit GoNOMAD Travel
Tags: Women's Travel Europe Romania

Mud baths on the beach in Romania.Mud baths on the beach in Romania.

 

In the Mud and Down the Salt Mine in Romania
 
By Caroline Crutchley

The Danube finally ends its European meanderings at Tulcea on Romania’s Black Sea coastline. Hectares of water, mud and reeds are a botanist and bird spotter’s dream. But it is south I go to Constanta, not only one of the largest ports in Europe but with the nine miles sand bar of Mamaia, a chic holiday destination for adventurous Europeans. Just south was in Eiford whereI started my Romanian spa experience.

Here the Black Sea gave way to sulphur-rich lakes, full of life enhancing salts and minerals. My mission was to wallow in mud and with some persistent searching, (there was no signage),I found the Bai Reci. Under a road and rail bridge, a steady stream of locals clad in only swim wear went and so I followed.



And lo and behold through the arch was a doorway where they all disappeared. A small kiosk was selling the tickets 10 lei (€2.50) and I parted with my lei and followed. A security guard made sure of no cameras and I filed right to the Femmi side of life. Here there is segregation of the sexes and I soon found out why.

Turning right and then left I emerged, blinking  in the bright sunlight onto a beach with showers and lots of 

Bear LakeBear Lake

nakedness. I found a spot and surveyed the weird scene. A beach, a lake and female naked bodies  in nearly fifty shades of grey, standing around arms outstretched.

Two Buckets

I spotted two buckets on a wooden board in the centre of the beach and assumed this was the mud source. Being the adventurous brave soul, the only option was to strip naked and walk to the buckets over the warm sand.

The mud was shiny black and tar like and stank to high heaven. My fingers submerged into the mud as I dug in and started smearing myself from head to toe. But of course there was my back. Unbeknown to me I had been watched and a sweet local gal came to my aid.

With one swirl of hands I turned and she smeared my back and I proffered to do the same for her.  A new twist on the saying ‘You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.’ This was very sociable and soon more came to join the bucket brigade. A strict code of treatment was set out in Romanian only on a notice board!

Glistening  in the Sun

Now fully coated, glistening in the sun we turned and dried for 20 minutes. Now resembling elephants in a wrinkly grey skin it was time to take the long walk. I plunged into the warm smelly lake and bobbed up like a cork. Nothing to do but lie back, relax and chill for a twenty minute float.  The segregation was a bit of fallacy though, because when I marched to the water’s edge it was easy to see the men but without my specs I couldn’t see a lot through the mud!

Kronwell Hotel's spa.Kronwell Hotel's spa.My only pastime was watching the mud slough off to reveal skin. I righted myself and stood in the shallows to survey the hotch-potch of colors that I now was. I headed for the showers on the beach where I opened the tap to find myself in a jet-propelled stream of cold water that sent me headlong against a wall. Trying to remove persistent mud from the nether regions was not easy.

Plastic mirrors helped to spot them lurking in armpits and other unmentionable places. Eventually I felt clean enough to make my way back to my pile of abandoned clothes to dry dress. Now for the local ladies this is a day-long social gathering but for me it was time to move on.

At the exit I surveyed the herbal potions and gels for every ailment imaginable. My skin was smooth as a baby’s bum but is stunk too of rottEntrance to the salt mine.Entrance to the salt mine.en eggs. I pitied the poor lady that sat next to me on the bus back to Constanta.

Salt Mines of Praid

Next stop were the salt mines of Praid (www.salinapraid.ro). Yes, I was about to descend 100 metres below ground in search of a cure all for the inner me.

Are you asthmatic, phlegmy or the like? Then this is the place for you. Here the salt leaches from the walls in gigantic caverns and in the old days a hospital was set up for serious cases. Now a day ticket is 20 lei(€5) for fun, table tennis, a church to pray at and cleanse the soul and food.

The internet connection was the best I found in Romania and made it the perfect summer work place. This is still a working mine for salt and I gave way at the bus for a change of shift – the workers in overalls and tin hats.

 The salt vapours entered my lungs, I coughed and drank lots of water. I later emerged revitalized and breathing deeper than ever before. What a benefit for tar laden smoker’s lungs. There is a chemical reason for all this and since the 15th century this mine has been a spa resort for European Royalty and much fought over. The Hungarians love it and come in the coachloads. Pack your sandwiches, a badminton set and have a day down the salt mines of Praid.

Bear Lake

In the mine.In the mine.Close by is Bear Lake where the bears really do swim. The 27C hot thermal waters bubbled up from the depths below bringing minerals. With sun decks, showers and restaurants this is a popular summer destination. 30 minutes is the maximum recommended time before a ramble in the bear woods. Price is a snip at 20 lei for a day at the lake resort.

Finally I had to do the spa the modern way. I checked in at the newly opened Kronwell Spa Hotel (www.kronwell.com) at Brasov. This four-star masquerading as a five star will soon have its own dedicated spa building. But right now I sampled the spa all to myself.

 I ordered the spa to be turned on and in the intervening 30 minutes readied myself in my plush room. In my thick towel robe I descended down to the Belaqva Spa. Here a tea, coffee and water station had been arranged for me in the relaxing room. But where to first? There was a salt room, steam room, sauna, ice room and relaxing therapy shower.

Mist and Fog

Shower on, press a button marked fog and one for mist! Lights of all colors flashed and just like a car wash I was jetted at from all directions. I then went Finnish in the sauna and from there the ice room. An  ice maker was spewing out flaked ice scented for me to douse down the hot body. Then for a steam and relax in the salt room before a shower. It was so relaxing and exhilarating that I did it all over again.

In the heated seat in the relax room I rehydrated and let the world drift by. This is Romania at its best. I have run the gamut of just some of the spas and in the winter snow there are more. I guess I will have to return to get the full treatment under my belt.  Spas like these are a fraction of the price of a weekend at Champneys.

The Hungarians and Germans go and so should you.

Caroline Crutchley




Caroline Crutchley is the author of many travel articles and writes a blog called Gadabout Girl.
She lives in the UK.









Read more about Romania on GoNOMAD:

Romania

Bucharest, Romania: More than Vlad to Be Here By Erin Caslavka Deinzer Mention Romania as a travel
transport in Romania To the Borgo Pass A A All those places seemed like a dream to me
Mud baths on the beach in Romania. A In the Mud and Down the Salt MineA in Romania A
find in the wilder areas of Romania . All are hungry, yet content. Despite this feeling of satisfaction
A Four Days In and Around Brasov, Romania By Dori Saltzmann The last time I went
about Dragobete. Read more about Romania:
nearby Herastrau Park, it has 300 authentic peasant farms and houses from all over Romania. It looks
teaching English, spending time with the kids, and gardening. Carpathian Large Carnivore Project Romania
Slovakia is not as cheap as Bulgaria, Romania, or Hungary, but it does offer better values than most
, until I had no choice than flying again from Romania to Italy due to health problems. It was a long
languages in little shops and bodegas. The largest outsiders are from Romania, seconded by Morocco
dantealighieri.com VOLUNTEERING Make a Difference in Europe Join Global Volunteers in Romania
as Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and the Balkans, have their own individual
Romania and Ukraine.A The guys up there, though, the guys with the guns, they didn't agree
- Netherlands - Northern Ireland - Norway - Poland - Portugal - Romania - Russia - Serbia - Slovakia

 
New Travel Articles
Follow GoNOMAD.com Travel's board Destination Guides on Pinterest.
 
 
 


Subscribe to GoNOMAD's monthly enewsletter for all of our new travel articlesGet our free monthly travel newsletter
and help support sustainable and responsible tourism.
No spam, no selling
your email, we promise!

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger... HomeAway.com