One of the best advised I got in Romania has been ” Never say no to an invitation”. So yesterday when one of my counterparts-Liz- invited me to Săcelu Resort, known for existing mineral spring and about 15 minutes by car from Novaci, I ran in the house, grabbed my swimsuit and off we were.
When we arrived, I saw four large baths-pools filled with people. Astound by the amount of people in such a small place I wondered “how am I going to get in any of the pools without bumping into someone?” I later found out that should have been the least of my worries. We put our towels down on the sand and walked over to pool number 1, which was the smallest and had the darkest water. Liz told me “we can only be in here for 15 minutes and don’t mind the smell of the water”. I looked up at the clock and put my left foot into the pool where it quickly disappeared into the dark water, as for the smell, well once you are in the water there is really no way to escape it…it’s right under your nose. I started a conversation with a Romanian man who told me that these baths have been used for over 2,000 years to heal joint pain, healing of internal digestive problems and to help with the overall well being of the body (Please note that this conversation was in Romanian so I’m sure I missed about 36ish percent of what else he said 🙂 ) .
The 15 minutes were up, we left the first pool to start applying the mud and before I knew it a complete stranger started putting the mud on my back (I later found out this was Liz’s neighbor, but non the less, as stranger to me). I didn’t hesitate, stuck my hand in the bucket where everyone was getting mud and out came a handful of mud and applied it on my face, arms, chest, stomach legs and toes–you can tell by looking at the pictures that I did a superb job). After the fun affair of applying mud to our bodies, it was turn to let the sun do all the cooking or should I say drying. Standing underneath the sun we waited. We stood with our arms stretched out, we laid on our backs on the sand, we walked around the resort and waited. My skin was starting to resemble one of an elephant with the aroma of salt, haven’t felt better!
Finally, it was time to wash off in pool number 2, which was a little bit less black than the first one. My foot went in and without a doubt I knew I was stepping on mud-As a matter of fact, this was the pool where people got the mud from. with a bottle in hand they reached to the bottom and pulled the mud out- I watched as men young and old washed each other backs, kids waited for their mothers to wash their backs, older ladies stood along the edge and washed the mud off too. I, enjoying the moment, shut my eyes and with a smile on my face floated on my back from one end to the other. The sun guided me in the water as the mud slowly washed off my back.
Liz and I got out of the pool and took in more rays of the sun before jumping into the 3rd pool, the purple pool. I could not believe the water was actually purple and that I was about to jump into it! I cleaned off the left over mud and made my way to the last pool that was the most “natural” color pool I have been in-close to a clear green. I swam a lap and got out– I was beginning to get cold since it was almost 7pm and the sun was making it’s final appearance. I later read that the interesting colors in the four pools depend on the seasons, studies show that bacteria, plants and microscopic animals living in ponds and the annual dynamic of mutual relations between them and the environment are the main reasons causing different color of the water (www.helloromania.eu).
At the end of all of this I felt at most relaxed, my skin felt completely exfoliated and rejuvenated. My best spa experience and least expensive….oh I guess I forgot to mention, it was completely free.
Like I mentioned earlier, never say no to an invitation you may find yourself covered in mud, floating in black water and bathing in a purple pool.