Lithuania: A Spa Experience at a "Sanatorija"

I wanted to experience a European spa without the notorious European price tag  I chose a small spa town in  Lithuania called Druskinkai, near Belurus. At first I was recommended to go to Surutis, but being fully booked, with no interest in trudging through the snow and battling the cheek and nose biting wind, I opted for the "SANATORIJA LIETUVA" across the road.Looking like a Soviet building outside, my modern, clean, spacious room felt like in a 4 star hotel! My room had new bathroom fixtures, new furniture, 2 cozy sofas, new bed with thick duvet and 4 big pillows, colour cable TV ( Polish, Lithuanian and Belurus programmes on the TV) and a mini fridge.

The character of the front staff were a bit brash and  had a bit of "Soviet relic" attitude towards guests, but other staff were polite. Almost NO English was spoken, but Polish, Lithuanian, Russian and German were. After a formality visit with the spa doctor,I had the pleasure of experiencing these procedures:
THERMAL MINERAL WATER BATHS( 2)- 15 minutes of sitting in a bath of hot, bubbly mineral water-relaxing and NICE! MUD THERAPY TREATMENT-I had to strip naked infront of two old ladies and climb on a table of hot black mud, the consistency resembling something a cow just dumped in the pasture! After lying in a wrapped cocoon stage in the mud for an hour I did feel better! The mud was washed off my body by the lady in the shower! wow!

HERBAL COCKTAIL- Reluctantly, I gulped a curious coffee looking brown, bitter concoction to 'detox' one's liver, kidneys, etc. I felt nothing, NAD ZDROWIE!

THERMAL WATER GYMNASTICS- whilst standing in a murky brown mineral water, I had to do different contortions and calastetics in the water according to what the therapist said,( she spoke some English!) including grabbing on to a metal swing like pole, and being hoisted off my feet and dangling in the water! My fingers and wrists wanted to fall off! All these procedures were done in the basement of the spa- facilities here were definitely antiquated Soviet relics but still functional!

FOOD: Set menu, traditional Lithuanian style cuisine, Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner served in a big dining hall. Delicious, hearty and plentiful! I was not used to the portions.People with special diet were looked after with their own special requests. I got to sample different Lithuanian food, each meal had a wonderful assortment of bread! Also, tea, coffee and a strange fruit "compote" drink. A bar was opened after hours enticing people for a beer with some loud pop music and flashy lights.

This place catered to a mostly elderly clientele. I was definitely the youngest guest there! I will say that my stay there was really good value for money! and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys relaxing, body mud and mineral water, which did wonders for my rheumatism.

The weather  when I was there was in the midst of winter, with 3 cm of snow, with temperatures near freezing.  I fell flat down on the icy streets, probably ruining all the benefits of my therapy ( or perhaps adding to the therapeutic treatments that way?  ha ha)

Druskininkai town has the character of a small town in Russia, but it is in Lithuania. There is a beautiful old Russian church ( I intruded in a local funeral as I spotted a coffin with sad looking people surrounding it whilst peering my head in the church door), and many forested areas to wander around. The streets are lined with mature trees and I could imagine during the summer months this place is full of elderly people and other holiday makers taking a stroll and enjoying the thermal waters.

For those who crave munchies, cookies, juices, beer etc. there are 3 supermarkets walking distance away to fill up your mini fridge with!


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