Sunday, November 27, 2016

Proof

Despite living along side a quite active geological fault zone, there's little to note on Croatia's hot springs.

With most of the country lapping up a huge chunk of the Adriatic's west coast, it's mostly in the northern more mountainous areas where you'll discover geothermal sources; though there's little left to enjoy in nature. See f.i. this link to spa's in Croatia

On a recent non-soaking sojourn, I visited Croatia's city of Split which revels in the jewels of it's past: the Diocletian palace
Though the palace may once have been on a strip of land between a lagoon, peninsula and the sea it may well be, that it's origins are to be traced back to those with a geothermal origin.
That's at least what Rusko & Balog (2007) suggest:
'Numerous researchers believe that the Emperor Diocletian used the sulphur spring and that it was one reason for building the Palace at that site. This cannot be proved since there are no written documents'.
Well, they mention sulphurous origins, not necessarily thermal. Could they be hot? Not. According to the same source:
'The highest temperature recorded at the Split spa sulphur spring was 23.75° (30 September 1987) while the lowest was 14°C (20 January 2004)'.
Evidence
Let's see what we can find.

Where the palace was once lapping the shores, there's now a café-lined strada (the Riva) which passes from the market south of the palace to the yacht harbour to the north. Take your time and stroll along the Riva and take in the surroundings; but above all smell. Once you have passed the palace walls you'll notice the whiff of sulphur.

This whiff comes from the drain of the source of sulphorous waters. 

It's actually known that Split possess sulphur baths. Tripadvisor
'... the smell has been here for 2000 years from an underground sulfur spring that legend says is one of the reasons Diocletian built his palace here--sulfur was thought of and still is used medically to cure certain bone ailments. The fabulous art deco building a stone;s throw from where you were sitting is actually a clinic that still does this treatment and the 100 year old fish market next to it was purposely built there to take advantage of the fact that flies, like humans, are also repelled by such fumes'.
 Virtualtourist (2016) adds some info on the bathing building itself:
'I am not sure if there excist any other Secession building in Split besides Sulphur baths in Marmontova street. This construction was built in the very beginning of the 19th century and is fine example of the Art Nouveau style in Split. It is designed by a local architect who studied in Vienna and came back home "infected" by the Secession.
The spa is still working (its smell could be feel for milles around) and serve as an rehabilitation center for various rheumatic problems'
Where is this building?

Head inland from the Riva up the strollable Marmontova street and 100m from the harbour on your right you'll see the elaborate decorated Art Deco building Sumporne Toplice. This is just before the fish market. 

The building apparently still houses / functions as a sulphur bath though there were precious little clues as to whether it was till in function other than a plaque with this text:
'This building of 1903 designed by Kamilo Tončić is an impotant specimen, with its richly decorative elevations and interiors, of Croatian Art Noveau architecture. It was built over natural sulphur springs that have been used for therapeutic purposes since the 18th century'.
The building itself is neatly adorned such as in the picture below:


Though the Vitaltourist source above mentions it still functioning, this article notes how it needs to be revived possibly to put Split on par with the German spa town of Baden-Baden.

A bit of history by Vlak (2000) which suggests that bathing halted before start of the Millennium:
'The sulphurous waters of Split have been in traditional medicinal use for a full 17 centuries, ever since the construction of the Palace of the Roman Emperor Diocletian. The "Sulphur Baths" of Split (Croatia) reached their greatest recognition and popularity at the beginning of the 20th century, when the sulphurous spring was declared to be the source of some of the highest quality medicinal mineral water in Europe. However, interest in balneology and climatotherapy, hitherto so popular in the area, subsequently declined. The "Sulphur Baths" gradually lost their importance and medical use of the sulphurous water gave way to modern forms of physical therapy. The beginning of the 1990s marked the end of commercial and every other use of the mineral water in Split'.
As could be expected, there doesn't seem to be much evidence of any action or possibility to admire the buildings interior. It does seem odd at the least that despite all the assurances of how a sulphur bath is a benefit to anyone's health, the waters simply drain into the harbour ... 
Still it could be worse. If one delves further in Splits history, where now stands the iconic Hajduk FC stadium were public mud baths with sulphuric mud (source).

Notes
Rusko, M & K. Balog (2007) Characteristics and origin of the Spilt sulphur spa (Southern Croatia). Manažérstvo životného prostredia 2007 Management of Environment ´2007 zo VII. konferencie so zahranicnou úcastou konanej 5. - 6. 1. 2007 v Jaslovských Bohuniciach. Proceedings of the International Conference, Jaslovské Bohunice, 5-6 January 2007

Vlak, T. (2000) From the history of the Split hot springs Reumatizam. 2000;47(1):25-30.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Naturali

Morning dip 💦
A winter edition? Sort of, there's not really much to highlight, some snippets of news here and there while trailing through Europe.

Let's start with amaement: it sometimes amazes me that there are quite a few hot springs out there which are unknown and are simply waiting for the right moment to reveal themselves. Take in and around Italy's Toscane region.

Unfortunately the moment of revelation is when money steps in; there is certainly a lack of info on non-commercial springs.  

The latest: a new terme has opened in Central Italy, the Terme di Vulci. Etruriaoggi.it (Sep. 11) reports how this has taken nearly 8 years to realize. 

It just exemplifies how many natural hot soaks are unknown and seem only to be dragged out of this situation with the assistance of business. Surely there must be a niche for rambling and rustic undeveloped soaks? As below ...

laopina at Tuscany's Bagni San Filippo:
 Perché niente è cambiato anche se tutto sembra diverso
#bagnisanfilippo #terme #termenaturali #wild #bosco #nature #naturelovers #valdorcia #toscana #italy #travel #explore #neverstopexploring #wanderlust #landscape #blue #siena #paradise #amazing #ig_toscana #igerstoscana #naturephotography #liveauthentic
There is though an article of Italy's best wild hot springs (Culturetrip.com, Oct. 18)

belinha3 in north Portugal
O dia que o meu telemóvel conheceu a água! 😰♨ 🇪🇸#torneros #termas #geres #xeres #tbvacation #wanttogoback
Sascha's soaks
Lukovska Banja, Serbia
Lukovska Banja is a beautiful small town with mainly old people that come here to cure rheumatism and other illnesses. There are only 2 hotels in the town that are often sold out. But many private stays are available, so you will definitively find a place to sleep. I stayed one night here and it was enough to visit the highlights of the town: apart from the hot springs at the end of the village there is a little church on a mountain, some souvenir shops and that’s it. 


Several hot springs with different mineralization comes out with 33°-44°C. Most people go the pools where the muddy water is 35°C warm to cure rheumatism and put only their legs in the pools. 


But soaking is also possible if you don’t mind the legs around you. What is much more beautiful is to soak in the crystal clear water right next to the pools close the river. However, the water is 44°C hot, so the game is to find a cooler place and then go the real hot pool.

Great for relaxing and getting the admiration of old Serbian ladies that watch you from above. There is also a possibility to rent a small pool house on your own against a small fee.   

My evaluation: 3 of 5 stars



 After climbing up Veľký Choč mountain (Slovakia), it's time for a soak. Source

Roots

A photographic overview of Tiermas thermal springs and sulphur mud, Navarra, Spain (blog a 33.000 pies, Oct. 2).
It describes how every autumn the waters of the adjacent hydro lake recede, giving the opportunity to enjoy the hot waters once again. 

It also reports of plans to redevelop the site complete with spa hotel (noooo...). 

Not having been here (well, factually I have, but it was submerged at the time) it would be a great loss to what it stands for today: a ramshackle uncontrolled place of serenity. From the article:
'The  nudism  has also taken root in the hot springs. The sun solidifies the mud on the naked body of Villavés  Fran Pardo, 53. His two huge blue eyes way through the slime open. "I come for six years," he says, lamenting the service that is acquiring this natural environment. "Please do not post the report on Sunday ... wait a bit," begs a man with a towel over his shoulder. There are only umbrellas. The path that descends from the N-240  enthusiastic over the three members of the music group guess  Duo Kolingo. "We come from the  Bardena  recording a video clip," smiles  Coline Guillemin, recognizing that they have had to leave because the Civil Guard has "caught" them without the permission of recording. "And we have decided to stop back to visit this site that we have heard so much."'
The author's article which was published in the Dairio de Navarra (Oct. 3) has certainly encouraged more visitors as there is an uptick in Tiermas references on Instagram, f.i.:
 
19gabi72
 '#Tiermas, #Pantano de Yesa'
Cautious
'The ultimate list of Turkey's thermal springs'
? From the Daily Sabah (Sep. 30), it does cite sources of 1000 or more hot springs in Turkey alone, though it only presents nearly 10. So much for ultimate ..., more hurrahs for lovers of natural soaking.

Not mentioned = not bad. Take this hot spring from the Ararat.trek website:
'Diyadin, in the eastern part of Turkey, is located 7 km SE of Agrl The distribution of hot water springs in Diyadin Region roughly parallels the distribution of the fault systems and young volcanism. In the east of the region there is Dogu Beyazıt, in the west Tasllçay, in the South Ercis (Van) and in the southwest Çaldıran, Muradiye. Paleozoic and Senozoic rocks are exposed around the Diyadin area. Paleozoic metamorphic rocks (e.g. micaschist, quartzite and marbles) comprise the basement in the area.
...

Strike slip faults and tensional cracks developed due to the N-S compression in the region. Therfore, thermal water and gases come out from the most of the cracks to the surface. In the study area there are lots of thermal and mineralized water springs close to each other. Their temperatures is 24-64°C and their flowrate is 0.5-10 l/s. The discharge locality of thermal water springs can frequently be change due to CaCO3 depsition on the outlets of the springs. Yılanlı kireçli, Köprü, Davutlu, Kusburnu, Tazekent, Dibekli and Mola Kir thermal springs are observed at the Diyadin geothermal field. Drilling studies in the Diyadin area were started in 1998 by General Directorate of Mineral Research and Exploration of Turkey MTA. As a result of drilling of 6 wells with a depth of 72-215 m, thermal water with a discharge of 560 l/s and with a temperature of 62-78ºC was produced. In addition of these 15 km away from Diyadin Kusburnu there are thermal water springs with a temperature between 40 and 60°C and two drilling wells in which temperatures vary between 37 and 73°C in Mola Kir village'.
A first hand report from Armenia's winter:
 
Following the river along the valley and ducking through low hanging trees we spot the ultimate goal when a patch of bubbling orange water appears in front of us. This spring is bigger and you’re easily able to fit a couple of people in it but more importantly, it’s also much warmer. Spreading out our raincovers we leave our packs on the snow, peel off our soaking wet shoes and socks and strip down to our shorts and bikini. Having not seen a single person or even a footprint, and with the only way to get here at this time of year to hike in, we decide to throw caution to the wind and opt for a skinny dip instead. The serenity of this stunning location is only interrupted by the bubbling gases of the spring which come up, sometimes rather violently and stinky, every seven minutes. Otherwise we enjoy the warm water and sunshine while Mother Nature’s beauty soothes us after two weeks in Armenia’s bustling capital.
Dispatcheseurope.com (Oct. 21) on the hot springs of Bulgaria:
'Today, Bulgaria ranks among the first in Europe in terms of wealth and diversity of hydrothermal waters and bioclimatic treatment resorts, with the Velingrad area south of Sofia claiming the highest density of thermal spas'.  
Big advantages, it claims, are Bulgaria's climate and affordability. Pity the info relates solely to commercial establishments, there are probably quite a few free soaks a well in Bulgaria.

Did we know there's a geothermal museum in France? 
La Montagne (Aug. 10) has an article (in French) on the Musée Géothermie located in the village of Chaude Aigues, which in Occitan language stands for hot water ...

Banyets diferents 🙊 #banhsdarties #aiguacalenta #natura #banyetsnaturals #banystermals #nautaran #valldaran
Silence
Bathing after a hike in Ateni valley in our favourite sulphur outdoor hot springs. Sharing the communal place with locals who decided to throw a traditional "supra" next to the pool and get us drunk. #sulphurbaths #georgia #atenivalley #hiking #supra
From Georgia (above) to Greece, where art and hot springs are combined (artforum.com, Aug. 1):
For the third summer running, Joannides’s Sterna Art Project set up camp in an old-fashioned spa hotel located next to the crumbling Baths of Mandraki in Loutra, which were to house the exhibition at the outcome of our residency.
...
Poet Quinn Latimer used the thermal baths, fueled by hot springs, for daily, twenty-minute one-on-one reading sessions staged in adjoining cubicles. That way the reading partners could (just about) hear without seeing one another “taking the waters” in their respective bathtubs. The acoustic or acousmatic potential of the baths was not lost on her partner, sound artist Paolo Thorsen-Nagel. “It’s like the Pythagorean veil,” he noted, alluding to pupils of Pythagoras who absorbed the philosopher’s teachings in silence from behind a veil-like partition.
'Sterna Art Project 2016 presents 'Experimental Education Protocol' at the Baths of Mandraki on Nisyros Island, inviting nine international artists and curators to participate. Pictured: Nisyros, by Panos Kokkinias, 2016. Produced for Sterna Art Project 2016. Photography: Panos Kokkinias'
More non-functional hot springs from Greece, though this one (Elefteres) does see it's fair share of soakers:

#beauty #hotsprings #nature #recovery
Party 
Hot springs and party time: apparently Budapest has exactly that on offer. Hungary's Business Insider (Mar. 7):
'They don’t call Budapest the “City of Baths” for nothing, as the the Hungarian capital is full of beautiful historic baths built by the Romans. Every weekend, these ancient thermal spas are transformed into absolute ragers —replete with lasers, light shows, live DJs and plenty of booze — thanks to events like Magic Bath and Cinetrip'.
Apparently Spartybooking.com organises these fests and calls itself 
'The Bath Party Brand'
I must say they do put a lot of effort into regulating and respecting the waters / venue.

Sparty at Széchenyi thermal bath, Facebook

There's also a New Years party upcoming (source).

Want to take a soak in Budapest, but not loose too much money in the process? Dailynewshungary (Jun. 21) has an article concerning
'The top 10 cheapest open-air baths and spas in Budapest'
Dailynewshungary (Sep. 24) has an article on their upcoming 
'Day of the Hungarian Bath Culture'
It notes:
'The Day of the Hungarian Bath Culture was first organised on the 9th of October, 2010, and since then the Hungarian Baths Association celebrates the day on the second Saturday of October every year. The aim of the event is to present the values of the Hungarian bath culture and the popularisation of the baths, which comes with a number of different thematic programmes each year.
...
According to the Hungarian Baths Association’s announcement, more baths joined the event than ever, and all of them welcome guests with several programmes, discounted prices and extended opening hours. You can find details about the programmes on the association’s website. 
According to the Hungarian Baths Association’s announcement, more baths joined the event than ever, and all of them welcome guests with several programmes, discounted prices and extended opening hours. You can find details about the programmes on the association’s website'.
Spirited
adnil at Landbrotalaug
Island jag saknar dig. #niceland #hotpot #lavaland #badavarjedag
New ways to exploit tourists have been found in Iceland. Steer them away from nature's bounty and invite them to a concrete castle. Taxitravel.is (Oct. 30):
'Here is a pretty remarkable fact. If you take a shower anywhere within a 65 km (40 mi) radius of Deildartunguhver hot spring in West Iceland, you have already bathed in it’s hot water.
Later this winter you will, however, be able to dip in Deildartunguhver’s geothermal water on location with brand new baths being under construction just 70 meters (230 ft) north of the natural hot spring'.
Named Krauma.

More investment into the unnatural soaking scene. This time ThinkGeoenergy (Nov. 15) quotes an article from Icelandic press concerning investments in what is called a second Blue Lagoon. Likewise conveniently located (not far from Geysir) it may miss the iconic lava rock settings.
'Blaskogarbyggd Municipal is planning to allow for a 2,000 sqm geothermal lagoon and 100 room hotel next to Efri Reykir.  The company Efri-Reykir ltd has estimated investments to be around $44m and will create 70-100 jobs'.
Other good news: it's not using existing natural hot springs, rather an older borehole. 

I do wonder, are these developments positive for the natural soaking? They enhance the appeal of soaking on the one hand, while on the other they monopolize those tourists less interested in the natural part of soaking.
With competition heating up, should some of these investments focus on better niche marketing; they all seem copies of each other, albeit in different settings.

Heating up? The Reykjavik Grapevine (Sep. 19) blames a geothermal power plant of causing minor earthquakes:
'A series of quakes reported over the past few days may be connected to the Hellisheiði geothermal power plant.
RÚV reports that a tremor measuring 3.6 on the Richter scale was recorded near Húsmúla at Hellisheiði at about 23:30 last night, followed 20 minutes later by another quake measuring 3.0. The earthquakes were reportedly felt in Hveragerði, Mosfellsbær and Kópavogur, followed by several smaller aftershocks.
As it turns out, fluid re-injection for the Hellisheiði geothermal power plant takes place at Húsmúla, and as this process can lead to tremors, it might be the culprit behind the quakes'.
Celebratory, end-of-trip champagne with @intpunk in the Hveragerdi hot springs! BM conclave performance was a wild success, my conference presentation (somehow) wasn't a train wreck, I had a couple inspiring conversations with some research superheroes this past week, my paper was just accepted into Geophysical Research Letters, and I've had some real personal growth moments in the face of some shitty obstacles this past summer. This is the most relaxed I've been in weeks. Feeling joyous and grateful for the opportunities I've had and the friends that supported and encouraged me along the way. #Iceland #love #hotsprings #sentimental #nekked #champagne #decompression #happy #realscientists #tipsygram
 Travel bites (Oct. 27) has a great entry entitled
In search of water – natural hot pots in the Westfjords
It notes how it's not only the zen of soaking in serenity but the search for the hot pots themselves make the reward even greater. Also visit their instagram page.

Finally, some slightly off-topic news: vodka made by using lava (rock) to filter. Talesofthecocktail.com (Sep. 30, 2015):
'The spring water and spirit are filtered through lava rocks (rather than charcoal), collected from neighboring lava fields. First, the spirit is filtered through the rocks as a vapor. It is then filtered through the rocks a second time as a liquid. 
...  
“To keep our vodka (as well as the planet) clean, geothermal energy is used to power the Reyka distillery,” says Trevor Schneider, a Reyka Ambassador. “In fact, our distillery is one of the only geothermal distilleries in the world. Boiling water from the earth is used to preheat our spirit, allowing us to keep the process pollution free.”
Guided to this article by ThinkGeoenergy (Sep. 2).

A good friend knows all your stories. A best friend helped you write them.
#Iceland #bestoficeland #exploreiceland #inspiredbyiceland #niceland #hotsprings #hrunalaug #shewantsadventure #openmyworld #mytinyatlas #stayandwander #lifeofadventure #outdoorlove #itsinmynature #takeitoutside #tioutsiders #keepitwild #natureaddict #360dreams #stayandwander #girlslovetravel #wanderlust #passionpassport #instapassport #instatravel #travelgram #travel #instatravel

Euro soaks visited