I have found a little piece of paradise and it is in Karlovy Vary, a turn of the century spa town in the Czech Republic. Who knew we would arrive in the midst of a thriving International film festival on their biggest week of the year? Who knew it was so glamourous and Old World with rows of Victorian hotels, old mansions, and fountains springing forth various types of healing mineral waters. What's not to like?! I want to stay for a very long time. We also happen to be staying in the first five star hotel of our trip. I do not know what inspired the splurge, but I think we both needed a little TLC, and we found it here. I want to move into this hotel where we are staying, with its giant feather pillows, gourmet teas, fancy dinner buffets, and purifying spa. If I could afford it, I just MIGHT move in. What a town, what a place. (The hotel is called Hotel Savoy Westend, highly recommended)
We walked down into town to be in the atmosphere of the film festival and it was absolutely buzzing with important people and events. Locals drinking beer in market stands, people shopping, laughing, eating, dressing up for a night out. Every language was being spoken as people sat by the river chatting and watching: Russian, German, Czech, French, English, Japanese, Korean, Polish... I am sure there were more, and we only caught glimpses of the whole event, but it was quite a sight.
The people here are so kind. The receptionist at the spa gave Bodhi a marionette. We thought it was just to play with, but we returned it the following day, and she said, no no, he can have it as a gift. A marionette is a puppet held up by four strings, handmade from wood, and they are a classic toy here in the Czech Republic. A very sweet gift. Chris and I both had Thai massages, and they were the two best massages I think either of us has ever had. We both studied Thai massage in a small class in Northern Thailand for three weeks in 2003, what seems like a long time ago. It left me with a deep appeciation of this art for all of its aspects: the physicality, pressure points, the stretching movements, the energetic components... total healing. I think it is best described as an amazing yoga class combined with a classic massage. The way you feel after one Thai massage is like both yoga and massage combined = pure bliss. The mineral bath and steam room filled with Melissa (lemon balm) oil also was magical. We both are feeling completely renewed and ready for the next step of the journey.