Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic - Our Last Stop Before Heading Home
Peter and I have been on the road now since 2 May - that's about 6 weeks away!
During all that time, we have explore Paris and Alsace, discovered the Cote D'Azur and Provence, learnt about the Cathars in Carcassone, ate our way through Gascony, and finally met up with Peter's family in Cesky Krumlov before descending en masse upon Prague, Peter's hometown. In Prague, we caught up with old family friends and dispersed the ashes of Peter's Mum in the Vltava River and a park close by to where she used to live as a young girl. It was a touching conclusion to our trip.
With two days to spare, Peter thought it a great idea to take some time to chill in the spa town of Karlovy Vary before heading home to Sydney. Known as Carlsbad in English and Karlsbad in German, Karlovy Vary is an elegant and picturesque town located 2 hours away from Prague in the direction of West Germany. Named after the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV who founded the town in 1370, it is known for its curative waters, which has made Karlovy Vary a favorite haunt for Europe's royal families and dignitaries for centuries. Today, it caters to wealthy Germans, Austrians and the Russians, and offers a plethora of massages, herbal treatments and alternative therapies.
Staying at the Grand Hotel Pupp, an iconic hotel that was established in 1701, we were at a loss as to how to spend our last full day at the Czech Republic. After a leisurely walk around the town on our arrival, we both agreed to feeling rather depleted after all the traveling, wining and dining over the past 6 weeks. A treatment of some sort was in order!
Alzbetiny Lazne, or the Elizabeth Baths Deciding against the treatments offered at the Pupp Royal Spa due to their 'luxury' pricepoints, Peter and I headed for the Alzbetiny Lazne, or the Elizabeth Baths further down the main road, opposite the old Post Office. One of the largest spa facilities in the Czech Republic, the Elizabeth Baths were established in 1906 and named after the wife of Emperor Franz Joseph I. One of the largest consumers of hot mineral water in Karlovy Vary, they offer a complete range of services, from traditional to more modern beauty and wellness treatments at a fraction of the price offered at the hotels. Our problem was what treatment to pick - there were just so many to choose from!
Never having tried a Salt Chamber before, I suggested we give this a shot before booking in a 50-minute massage. I figured I had nothing to lose. If nothing else, I'd have myself a gret snooze while listening to relaxing music.
Salt Chamber The Salt Chamber is constructed from natural materials, with the salts coming from Poland, pakistan, Siberia and the Dead Sea. They apparently form a micro-climate, rich in ions of iodine, calcium, natrium, magnesium, bromine and selenium, which ionize more intensively than in their natural environment. The bacteriological neutral and ionized micro-climate in the chamber is said to improve the overall condition of the body and has a positive effect on the upper and lower airways, skin diseases, tiredness (that's me!) and allergies (that's me too!).
With sessions in the salt chamber always starting on the hour, we arrived 10 minutes in advance. I was surprised that we didn't need to wear any special clothing, except for disposable shoe covers that were available at the entrance. Seating ourselves down on the special lounge chairs, we were given blankets to cover ourselves with as the attendant reclined our chairs for maximum comfort. In no time, I was foating with the fairies, and alert enough to realize that my sinuses and hay fever had started to clear up. Amazing!! I came out of that salt chamber feeling as fresh as a daisy, and ready for my 50-minute Aromatherapy Massage in another room at the complex.
All in all, the Salt Chamber and 50-minute Aromatheraphy massage cost me the equivalent of AUS$48. Not bad for a self-indulgent afternoon!