Piešťany is the largest and most famous Spa town in Slovakia. Since ancient times it has been visited for its thermal springs, and remains a popular attraction for its restorative qualities. The Spa itself is beautifully situated on an island between two branches of the Váh river, the very same river that flows alongside our home village of Šintava. The Spa attracts over 40,000 people a year and has 2000 beds, with treatments specialising in rheumatic and arthritic conditions. Next to the Spa on the island is the magnificent Thermia Palace Hotel with its Art Nouveau splendour, which attracts people from Germany, Austria, The Czech republic and many Arab countries. The high prices here preclude many of the local Slovak population.
Whilst much of the focus here is on longer term medical treatments, I took the opportunity to experience the mineral and mud pools. The experience is extraordinary: you wait your turn in a huge corridor patrolled by staff in white uniforms until you are called through one of the huge doors. In the ante chamber you undress then you are led into the magnificent domed rooms that house the mineral and mud pools. Then you are left to enjoy the solitary experience for about 15 minutes in this huge space with nothing but the gentle sound of the waters and your own thoughts for company. The staff then take you from the pool into a rest area with wooden beds that look like something out of the Great Gatsby era, where you are wrapped from head to toe in sheets and a blanket and left to rest for 20 minutes in total silence whilst the gentle air conditioning brings your body back to normal temperature. The whole experience was surreal to say the least.
I finished the day with lunch in the hotel Café Alexander, overlooking the beautiful gardens and enjoying the wonderful décor of this exquisite place. All in all quite a day and all this about 40 minutes drive from home!