Sunday, December 31, 2017


Every trip we give ourselves a special treat, a decadent gift. This time it was a full day of pampering at the Adler-Thermae Spa in Bagno Vignoni. It's okay for the envy to set in about now.
It's a five star resort and spa high up in the Tuscan hills serving up a complete package of hotel accommodations,
incredible food and beverages
and a therapeutic spa like no other
Under the spa supposedly rainwater seeps into the earth and through a process that takes decades is heated and enriched as it passes through volcanic rock at a depth of over three thousand feet.  The heated and bicarbonate and sulphate enriched water then rises back to the surface and into the pools at the spa at a temperature of ninety-seven degrees filled with therapeutic benefits that will cure just about anything. There are a lot of snake oil salesmen in Italy but we bought into it anyway.
Each of us was to pick four things to do at the spa. Protocol for the spa is a little intimidating but once you decide to throw caution to the wind and keep telling yourself none of these people are ever going to see you again you begin to relax a little.
Since it's a spa everyone walks around wrapped in one of the spa's lush robes with a button pinned to it as a kind of ID reducing you to a number so the staff can identify whom to charge any incidentals to.
Though this is not a come and wing it experience. You need to have planned out well in advance what you'd like to do and then the spa puts together your itinerary and mails it back to you in an order they deem appropriate.
Emmy and I both started out with a pre-massage treatment called the Fango. To start with your treatment assistant escorts you into a very special therapy room. Zen music and a perfumed scent fill the room. A bed covered in plastic fills up much of the room.
You're given a teeny-tiny packet containing the only garment the beautiful assistant tells you is what you are to wear for you treatment. This is again repeated with several of the additional treatments each of us chose. I'm still confused as to which is the front and what is the back with this adult slingshot. You're then instructed to get on the bed in a sitting position while the nice lady smears hot mud all over your back and shoulders some of which is destined to find your plumber's crack. Then comes the fun part. You're instructed to lie down. At this point the assistant gently wraps you in the plastic you've been lying on and turns down the lights. As she leaves she hits a switch and like an episode on "I Love Lucy" the bed inflates like a life raft and traps you in as if it was a Venus Fly Trap attacking its prey. Once the shock wears off you kinda give in to it and it becomes a little womb-like and cozy although a little constraining.
After the Venus Fly Trap Emmy and I had a little time before our massage treatment. We decided we'd take advantage of one of the relaxation rooms where Emmy nodded out on a circular daybed.
My Harmonizing Experience with Lavender was scheduled ahead of Emmy's so I just let her sleep. Out in the reception area I was greeted by another therapist who guided me into another room with another bed this time a traditional massage table with a hole in it for my face.  On the table was another sling bikini bottom, the same as the one I had to don for the previous Fango warm up session. In addition to the table this room had an elaborate tub with all sorts of gadgets and gauges hooked up to it. The full front and back massage was done with aromatic oils as the soothing tunes of Hatma Hotuni and His Hotlicks softly lulled me into a stupor. After about forty-five minutes of full back and frontal laying on of hands my guide directed me to the tub she had filled with bubbling warm water. The bubbles gave just enough cover to disguise my practically nude body that by this time she had seen pretty much all of it. She then reached over and turned on the jets after placing a wrapped towel behind me head and adding a saucepan filled with essence of lavender to the water. That's when the jets kicked in from all four sides and below. There were at least a hundred jets in that tub. So many coming from so many directions that the tub contained a bar you put your feet under so you wouldn't be jettisoned out of the tub. Then she was gone and that's when the fun really started. About five minutes after she left the room the water level began slowly draining. As the water continued to lower more of the jets especially those from behind my shoulders became exposed above sea level rather than below it. They started spewing water like a kid with a water pistol in all directions and at any random target. I didn't know if this was supposed to happen and this was a part of the treatment or if something had gone horribly wrong. With my feet still secured on the "no float" bar and no sign of a help button I stayed where I was for the next ten minutes as the room began to look like an aquarium. When help finally arrived the look on the therapists face said it all. I just said, "I didn't touch a thing. I'm guessing this wasn't part of the treatment."
Rick had finally found three empty chairs by the indoor part of the thermal pools. So I joined him in an attempt to hide from my previous attendant in fear that they might think me responsible for the splash party back in my not so harmonizing therapy room. I, of course, was the only one of the three of us who hadn't packed a swimsuit to bring along. Rick lent me a pair of his black underwear and at this point even if he hadn't I think I might have jumped in without anything but a smile!

That brings me to my third of four treatments, the LPG Endermologie Body Treatment, and no this has nothing to do with the Lady's Professional Golf tour. No, this was a treatment designated for men where you were to squeeze yourself in the suit you see here laying on the floor. You had to enter this suit through the neck hole. It felt like birth in reverse. At least that was my impression as I slithered first one foot and then the next into a hole that wasn't any wider than the ones in Krispy Kreme donut.
Once inside the suit you were to lie down on yet another cushioned table and Frau Bruisenstien and her little robot friend began pummeling you with a tool that felt like a toilet plunger on your stomach and love handles. The two of them alternately sucking at your fat and pricking you with a laser. Do not expect to see a before and after picture of my results. At present all I feel is extremely bruised.
The last treatment I'd signed up for was just pure snake oil. My final assistant ushered me into her salon where I received a Thalasso Vitality hair loss treatment. Goop after goop was applied to the few remain hair follicles I still try to maintain and then I was repeatedly rinsed off for a treatment that lasted about thirty minutes. I was then blown dry and brushed out with a three-inch high bouffant that I immediately finger-combed out once I left her room.
Rick and Emmy did their final event together in the salt bath grotto where to my chagrin they blissfully floated about. As bizarre as my experience was I think we all thought it was worth it and when we once again make our back to our beloved farm in the Tuscan hills we're sure to go to the Adler-Thermae once again.

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