Bagni di Bormio Spa & the Italian Alps

mud-bath-out-window1After about a 5 hour drive from Montebelluno through the Italian alps fondly known as The Dolomites (le Dolomiti) we weave our little Toyota through the many ski “apartmentalized” towns and arrive at Bormio Spa. The Dolomites are breathtaking for sure and are the spikiest mountains in Europe. I asked Carlo why they were so pink and he said ” fashion” . Huh? “Well, Italians are always first in fashion, even millions of years ahead. The rest of the world is finally catching up to the color pink.” Yah, right! How about some geological explanation like they are made of a particularly rough grey stone, force their way skyward in blocks, towers and pinnacles, which are famous for going pink or bronze at sunset. Or how about The Dolomites take their name from a French geologist and intellectual, Dieudonné (or Déodat) de Dolomieu, who is commemorated with a monument in Cortina. He was the first to examine and describe the particular kind of limestone which characterizes these mountains, chemically different from other limestones. By no means all of the eastern Alps of Italy are made of this – none, for example, of the high land along the Austrian border. HOWS THAT! Now back to our previously scheduled programming in Bagni di Bormio…

We checked into this monument of a hotel after getting an upgrade and a corner room. Carlo tells me that he always gets an upgrade. Figures. He has been here several times with his national basketball team over the last 15 years, is tall, dark ( slightly graying around the temples) and handsome AND speaks Italian so he knows how to work it very well. It has been great having a tour guide throughout my entire journey. Our timing was impeccable because we arrived at the hotel just in time for the 12:00 spa thermal treatment. We put on our bathing suits, robes and flip flops and headed down the special elevator that took us directly to the “meeeniss one” or -1 floor. Tea and water is available at every turn and the tea is hot and full of cleansing herbs. There are 30 something thermal treatments and the water comes straight out of the mountain oozing with enzymes that are healing and detoxifying. The first stop was the sauna therapy room and just in time….we were the only ones’ there. They have about 4 saunas throughout the entire place, each boasting a particular essence receipe. They lay the ingredients out on a grill like a barbeque over the hot coals. Our particular sauna just had the hot coals and we waited for the special potion that would be splashed on them to steam our beings into heaven. A woman in a bathing suit and towel explained that today we would receive the special orange therapy ( all in italian) before taking her wooden bucket and poruing three wooden ladels worth of orange essence water on to the steaming coals. She then swung a towel about twenty times over her head like a lasso and then flapped the towel in our general direction. Each person got three “flips” which sent a blast of hot air and oreange into our gaping pores. She did this three times and by the third round, I was ready to pass out. I was closest to the door so when we were done, I was the first one out. The suggestion is to take a cool shower afterwards or for those diehards, find the cold bathtub and completely submerge. HA! not on my first day, thank you very much. . So that was my introduction to the thermal therapy. We sucked in fresh air and also a bunch more herbal tea and from there we ventured outside to the mud baths.

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