Sunday, 7 September 2014

An Italian Spa Town

The Spa Excelsior has gorgeous ornate architecture
On Saturday night I took an evening flight on an Air France A380 and managed to sleep most of the way (though on and off) to arrive in Paris at 6am.

Another spa down the road to drink the water
Just to transfer flights we had to go through a massive line for security and then another for our passports. Then I waited for my parents and their friends to arrive from New York for our connecting flight to Florence at 10.10am.

And I waited and waited... and almost all the passengers had boarded when they finally arrived.

An hour and a half later we finally arrived in Florence and began our tour which took us to our hotel in Montecatini, an hour's drive.

The town only has a population of 22,000 and completely depends on tourism. During the high season up to 100,000 people will be in the town, which is famous for its spas.

As our guide pointed out, these aren't the spas that are about facials, massages and treatments, but the old school ones where people were diagnosed and drank spa water to cure their ailments.

A carousel for kids to have fun on a Sunday
Montecatini apparently has six different kinds of waters and a building with classic architecture -- libertarian as they call it -- is most probably a spa.

We were also told the water isn't like spring water and those who are advised to drink it may take some 10 minutes to sip it. And then they may be recommended to drink another kind of water before drinking the last one, which apparently has the same salination content as our bodies. The guide said drinking too much of the last one will have you peeing all day!

The town is also known for composer Giuseppe Verdi coming here in the summer, and apparently wrote some of his best operas here.

Everyone checking out the desserts at a sweet shop
It's very walkable and easy to navigate here, lots of shops and cafes. However, shops are closed during siestas, which run from about 1-ish to 4-ish -- the "ish" meaning whenever they feel like opening...


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