Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Caldea -- a thermal water paradise

We decided to stay one more day in Andorra after the rigours of yesterday, and visit the Caldea, the huge spa that is a must visit in Andorra. The spa is located right in Andorra de Vella by the shopping district and this time that area was much calmer than on Bastille Day. But first, after several years of looking Seamus bought a fabulous pair of prescription glasses at a very reasonable price. A visit to the Mac store showed comparable prices to North America. The sales were on and the markdowns were high. Certain items like vitamins are much cheaper than in France or Spain.

Now to the Caldea, Europe's largest mountain spa resort. We opted for the Wellness area where we started with the hamman that looked like something out of Ali Babba with a lovely tiled seating area and a tall cone shaped fountain with a little pool, where you scooped cold water to cool down. Next was a relaxing bath in the thermal water where we just floated. The third stop on the circuit was the sauna, which was followed by a full body plunge in fourteen degree water. We were advised to stay in for thirty seconds....it was a long thirty seconds but when we came out it was a magnificent feeling, tingly all over. The Aztec bath was next. This was a thermal water circuit that you had to traverse four times with little pebbles on the bottom of the pool to massage your feet. Now it was time for the orange bath, with floating oranges in a Japanese garden. This may sound strange to float with a number of oranges but apparently it exfoliates your skin. This was topped off with a soak in the outdoor jacuzzi.

We went downstairs to thermoludic area, which was massive. First we jumped in to the thermal lagoon for a float around. Here there are side jacuzzis and steps you can climb to jacuzzis that tower over the lagoon. There were fountains that you could stand under and that thirty-two degree water rushing on your head felt wonderful. From here we floated through the channel to the outdoor lagoon. In the middle is a giant fairly aggressive jacuzzi and around it a channel with jets that people walk against. We went in the channel and went with the flow and zipped around floating on our backs. Lots of fun! After the jacuzzi there was a section of jets and a wall where you rested your head with the sun shining down on your face. The jets were lovely pummelling your upper back.

We returned through the tunnel, got out of the lagoon and went into the indo-roman baths that were a warm thirty-six degrees. There was a catch to this. The next bath was fourteen degrees. Seamus managed the thirty seconds and ducked right under but I got in to my waist twice but couldn't take the cold. Brrrr.

Now it was time to stimulate our blood flow. First we passed through the warm sirocco wind to the icelandic bath. Here there was a huge ice maker making chipped ice. If you were brave you rubbed it over your body and then walked through a very cold pool and then into a warmer pool. We did this a couple of times. It was fun with people icing up their partners. Since we had the hamman and sauna in our area we skipped this and went on to the aquamassage area. Here you stood in front of a strong jet of hot water that moved up and down your body. We finished with a coloured shower, a light eucalyptus mist that felt especially lovely on your face.

It was back up to the wellness area for another hamman and zen bath, just floating before we decided to leave. The Caldea has a huge number of treatments and perhaps next time we will try something but today what we did was perfect.

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