Thursday, 27 May 2010

LoVeLy LaVEy LeS bAiNs wiV iTs nuDe SauNas tHeRmaL pOoLs & hAmMams

Woke up hearing the tippitiptap of rain on the tent canvass. It had been raining all night but we were hoping that the weather would clear by the morning. It hadn't. Decamping in the rain is not that pleasant, but at least it's quick. Discomfort makes us really efficient. Pack everything from inside the tent (generally we scatter all around), jump out and pull the pegs rapidly cleaning them of any mud (we are quite house proud like that), extract and fold the alloy poles, shake the tent to get at least some of the water off, then swiftly load the bikes and leave.

On our way out we noticed nobody was at reception. Nobody was there the night before and, since we had been badly stung at the campsite in Lausanne, we made ourselves scarce. Only a couple of km down the road we relaxed.

Our first target was Lavey les Bains, famous for its thermal waters and public baths. We had found a flyer about this place the night before and although we noticed the high prices, we decided we could do with a little relaxation and regeneration before big Simplon Pass (oh, yes, we had also discovered that the pass over the Great St. Bernard was closed for another 3 days, and we were not going to wait around for it to open).

We received a few bemused looks arriving at the baths bedraggled, in our wet weather gear and dripping. We did not exactly look like the rest of the punters around us. These were mainly blazer, white trouser and proper shoes wearing gentlemen and ladies, elder and well off, some staying at the swanky hotel next door.

After we piled our luggage high behind the reception desk, we were gently shooed toward the entrance of the baths. These were probably the best public baths I had ever experienced. I waited for Isla to finish changing in the whale-song vibrational pool (yeah, tell me about it). We then moved to the Oriental section into a beautiful and large hammam (maybe 8m across, coated in mosaic tiles). Of course we spent a little bit of time in the outdoor pool with its mushroom fountain, massage jets and spiral water treadmill, but really it wasn't the bubbles we were mostly interested in, as much as the Nordic area. This had a three saunas: one mild and aroma-therapeutic (smelled funny), one straight Finnish and one naturist. The last was the biggest and hottest; we stayed till we melted. The plunge pool was crystal clear and ice cold. I loved submerging my body inch by inch then staying in till I felt my heart slow right down to a loud, imperative and base beat.

The ladies at reception smiled as we floated towards the exit. Outside the sun was shining.

1 comment:

Grace said...

Post a Comment