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spas + noodles

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Last week my friend came to stay. She is über chic, stratospherically tall and sips cocktails with A-listers in London. I love her as she reminds me of my old life. Actually that's not true. She reminds me of the life I could have had if I wasn't weeding raspberries, cleaning pools and smiling at clients who complain that the cat is too noisy!

Anyway, to prove I haven't gone totally 'rustic', I decided to treat my friend and the kids to an afternoon at the thermal baths. Italians have been doing it since before Vesuvius erupted and local doctors even prescribe 'taking the waters'. It feels very refined and very noble.

Our jaunt began ominously thanks to a treacherous mountain road, one car crash (not mine) and a funeral procession. When we finally arrived at the spa town of Bagno di Romagna, I had to prize my hands off the steering wheel and control my urge for a stiff Prosecco.

Ever the trouper, I shrugged off the rigors of the journey and took to the waters.  As I lounged in my super-sexy obligatory swim cap, I pondered how little life has changed since Ancient Rome, pool noodles excluded. Romans would use the baths as a kind of community centre to socialize, plot and complain...
“What did you think of the pasta at lunch? “ said the lady to my right.
“Too soggy for my taste” said the lady to my left.
“And let's not talk about the eggplant. I've been digesting it for 24 hours!”
“Tell me about it... but at least the bubbles will get you going!!!!”
The bubbles will get you going? I hastily moved away from the jacuzzi.

Recovering on my noddle, I watched as elderly women introduced themselves to each other. They politely shook hands, ignored each other's scantily clad, sun-tanned bosoms and discussed their treatment and ailments.
“Oh last year, I felt like a new woman when I went home. The water worked miracles on my veins.”
“Even my husband noticed how smooth my skin was!”
They burst into laughter, nudging each other like newly-weds.

After three hours and having overheard way too many conversations - you can't help it when you sitting in a bath with 60 other people - we decided to eat at the hotel.

We walked into a large ballroom and entered a Bacchanalian feast. The tables were aching with food; steak, fish, chicken, pasta, salads and masses of wine. We, however, were very obviously the Barbarians. First of all we piled everything onto one plate mixing antipasti with secondi and then, horror of horrors, my friend took two sorbets! It wasn't the gluttony that offended, but the fact that she was drinking a peach sorbet after a pear sorbet.  Oh the havoc it would play on her digestive tract! 

Crude manners aside, we had an amazing afternoon. A foreigner once asked a Roman emperor why he bathed once a day, he replied "Because I do not have the time to bathe twice a day." High five Mr Emperor and how very civilized! Share on Facebook
cleopatra 28/08/2011
love the glam swim cap. we are blessed to live in countries where the sun shines, friends want to visit, and enjoy down time. xx.
Ian Wylie 21/08/2011
Gotta Go There. Thanks for such a delightful description. Ian
Theanne 27/07/2011
:-) A lovely day...(love my Noodle)...thanks for sharing!
Lulu Primavera 24/07/2011
Next time call me and I will be there too.................... Only to hear other peoples conversations ofcourse!!! Sounds fun xx
Penny Sadler 24/07/2011
Great story Kate. keep writing! I can't wait to visit the farm and the baths!
Jeane Rovillo 22/07/2011
Love it! Wish i had been with you to share just another incredible adventure!
Kim Marie 22/07/2011
lovely experience to share with us all, my ancestors came from Albania, Italy & Germany to America to make new lives-I am learning much about our history, but have not yet made the trip thank you for sharing!
Richard Andrews 22/07/2011
Superb, as always my sweet x x

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