at the spa

We get up a bit late, due to the excesses of the evening before. Breakfast in the datcha is a French style buffet, everything is really fresh and excellently prepared. High point is some pudding, which I top with homemade choco. A spa entry is included in our package, we are expected at 17h in the spa and 19h30 for dinner. We take a small constitutional walk around the lake, where you can still see that it was used for bathing before the spa was built. The thermal sources here are sulfuric and the water exits at about 40°.

There is an impressive small gorge at the start of the lake, but we feel too tired to do the hike up to the viewing point. we go up to the hotel, find out all the lunch options are down at the lake, so must go down again. The way down is a path mainly composed of stairs that takes about ten minutes. The way up is the same, but for us takes 20 min. we have a nice tapas lunch at the restaurant of the spa hotel, which is part of the same group as the chateau hotel. We go back up, sit at the pool, where I update the journal and Arne reads and takes a swim until it’s time to head down again for the spa.

While chilling, one of the staff introduces the chef to us: Lieven Van Aken. He’s a very friendly young guy who worked at Comme Chez Soi and with Michel Guerard. He clearly has ambition to get a higher ranking in the gastronomical lists.

The spa itself is quite confusing; there are no sauna’s etc. but you are first led to the hot pool with massaging jets, then to the pulverization room (38°) and afterwards to the vaporization room (40°). All of it is quite boring, but it’s supposed to be good for you so we try to be patient and enjoy it. As we are out too early for dinner, we go up again. We’ll have done the up and down trip four times and our knees are aching at the end of the day.

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