White Villages Route of Andalusia

October 7th, 2015 | General | No Comments »

Cuesta de Alhacaba - Typical house in the province of Granada © Claudio Landi/cc-by-sa-3.0

Cuesta de Alhacaba – Typical house in the province of Granada © Claudio Landi/cc-by-sa-3.0

The White Towns of Andalusia, or Pueblos Blancos, are a series of more then 30 places, towns and large villages in the northern part of the provinces of Cádiz and Málaga in southern Spain, mostly within the UNESCO biosphere reserve Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park. All of the villages are characterised by whitewashed walls and red or brown tiled roofs.

The area has been settled since prehistoric times, and some of the local caves have ancient rock paintings. The towns were previously inhabited during al-Andalus, as is evident from many of the names.

The reasons for the white color has been postulated to be a chemical result of the limestone used, or a political mandate by a 20th-century dictator.

The climate is mild and the surrounding countryside is green and pleasant. Tourist activities available include hiking, rock-climbing, pot-holing, cycling, horseback riding, and just ambling about, enjoying nature and the local food.

Read more on cadizturismo.com – White Villages Route, andalucia.com – Pueblos Blancos and Wikipedia Pueblos Blancos. Photos by Wikimedia Commons.

Therme Erding, the largest thermal bath complex in Europe

October 3rd, 2015 | General | No Comments »

© Therme Erding/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Therme Erding/cc-by-sa-3.0

Therme Erding is the largest thermal bath complex in Europe at 145,000 square metres (36 acres). It is 30 minutes northeast of Munich by car and is visited by around 4000 people every day. On 12 February 1983, the American oil company Texaco drilled 2,350 metres (7,710 ft) below ground, just outside the town of Erding, Bavaria, Germany. Instead of oil, they discovered sulphorous water. Initially a ‘mini thermal bath complex’ was constructed on the site, and then the foundation stone of Therme Erding was finally laid on the 10 November 1998, and it was officially opened on the 3 October 1999. The complex has a clothed bathing area, and a no clothing (sans textiles) sauna section. In 2007, Therme Erding underwent an expansion. The baths contain four distinct areas: the waterslide area Galaxy, the Thermenparadies, the Vital-Oase, the Saunaparadies, a wave pool and the Hotel Victory Therme Erding with 128 themed rooms. The hotel design is based on the ship HMS Victory.

The waterslide park Galaxy is covered by a 25-metre (82 ft) high metal dome, which can be half-opened in the summer months. There are 20 waterslides, one of which is the longest tube slide in Europe at 360 meters long. The slides are divided into three different levels of difficulty: “Family”, “Action”, and “X-Treme”. Huge expansion work is planned for 2012, to the east of the current Galaxy (towards Altenerding), and will have ten new slides with a combined length of over 2,750 metres (9,020 ft). Various events take place in Therme Erding. The slides are often used for German sliding championships, while in Galaxy there are often parties featuring famous DJs. Once a month there are themed evenings in the Sauna and Thermeparadies.

The Thermenparadies has a surface area of 27,500 square metres (296,000 sq ft) (9,000 square metres (97,000 sq ft) interior and 18,500 square metres (199,000 sq ft) thermal gardens). The interior is covered by a glass dome which can be half-opened in the summer months. The interior is stands out, with a 1,450 square metres (15,600 sq ft) spa pool, pool bar, grotto, waterfall, neck showers, massage jets, Jacuzzi beds and current channels. Quiet rooms, a massage area, health baths, a steam room, bio-sauna, children’s area and a restaurant are all located around the pool. The thermal garden is home to an outside pool which joins directly to the large indoor spa pool, with massage beds as well as sulfur mineral springs, a sandy beach, beach bar, beach volleyball pitch, and outdoor slides. The Vital-Oase is available only for the use of those aged 16 or over. There is a spa pool with a pool bar, a sulfur mineral spring, clothed saunas, quiet rooms and a restaurant. In September 2008, three health pools were opened, which are enriched with minerals from the Dead Sea, such as selenium and calcium.

The nudist sauna complex, available only for the use of those over the age of 16, offers 25 different saunas, two steam rooms, and multiple beauty treatment parlours in an area of 26,900 square metres (290,000 sq ft) (12,900 square metres (139,000 sq ft) interior and 14,000 square metres (150,000 sq ft) sauna garden). The Saunaparadies’s main building lies beneath a 60-by-40-metre (200 by 130 ft) large glass roof which can be fully opened in nice weather. In this building there are jacuzzi beds, a 1,200 square metres (13,000 sq ft), 34 °C (93 °F) swimming pool, whirlpools, neck showers, and other outside pools. The outer pool is surrounded by three external saunas and the sauna lake. Of the rest, seven saunas are located in the main building, along with a meditation pool and a ladies-only area. The main building is connected by the Palazzo Veneziano to the old sauna area, which houses both saunas and another outer pool with jacuzzi beds. In the sauna garden there are two other saunas.

Read more on Therme Erding and Wikipedia Therme Erding. Photos by Wikimedia Commons.

Return to Top ▲Return to Top ▲