Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Bagni di Petriolo: thermal funk

Grosseto is where there is this mythical, gorgeous beach called Cala Violina and where you can hear the sound of the violins playing as the tides come in. The only problem is that it is almost three hours away from Lucca and it is really popular so you have to get there super early to find parking:
Cala Violina from
We didn't go on Monday because it rained in both Lucca and Grosseto. We didn't go today because it was only raining there. In fact, the same weather site I used in Amsterdam with the hourly report and the colored alerts put an orange alert out for possible dangerous thunderstorms and I couldn't do that to T's friend Natasha who is living with us this week twice (see Amsterdam Hammam post). Tomorrow the girls have a special birthday party to go to (Giorgia's!) so we can't go tomorrow.

I didn't want to not have anywhere special to take them so I researched the internet for hours and came up with the solution: FREE thermal springs.  I chose what I thought was the closest one. It turned out to be two hours away by car. It was a frustrating two hours because T didn't want to go and I didn't want to have to convince her and then it started to rain and the GPS wouldn't register where it was and F's phone couldn't get any reception/campo and the air conditioner started blowing hot air. F got lost right at the end when he said we were only five minutes away. We were really twelve minutes away, but only if you knew where to make the left turn off the highway. Welcome to our family, Natasha; and sorry about the occasional grumping, snarking, and snapping. It happens.

And then we found it - Bagni di Petriolo. Unfortunately, due to the recent rain, it looked more like the Baths of Petroleum/ Bagni di Petrolio. Yellow petroleum, to be exact. But it was really sulphur. My new friend Lucia --who I met there, and who's an immigrant like me, except she's from Romania -- says that the sulphur has all of these healing properties. She works shifts in an old age home and goes there after almost every weekday shift to unwind and let go of the day.  I totally believe her about the thermal waters because  she was a no nonsense individual and her skin was flawless.  Also she swears that the water is as blue as that of Cala Violina if you come when there hasn't just been a rain storm.

If Great Adventure were a swamp like river encampment in Tuscany . . .

And baring your ass crack while you watch people get back pounding super hot water massages were a ride . . .

And you like the color slime yellow  and the smell of stinky sulphur. . .

(There are our girls, if you look closely.)
. . . then we nailed it.
It was not half bad. I would go back there in the autumn when there is a chill in the air and fewer biting insects. It could be romantic or restorative. The key is not to be a neurotic ex New Yorker and to embrace the slime factor. At least I got to meet Lucia. And, like Evita, I, too, kept my promise. Plus also my shins are weirdly silky right now.

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