Before the government stepped in and this became a protected World Heritage site, these pools, whose waters are considered restorative, were tapped by the surrounding hotels. There is even one hotel at the base of the terraces, directly in view. This tapping of the area’s natural mineral springs has caused the destruction of large portions of the terraces. At this point, the surviving terraces are, as I said, protected by UNESCO. It’s sad to see that within a very short time (the springs only became a destination within the last thirty years), what a negative impact people can have on the environment. It makes you appreciate the movement toward conservation at home, though we all know there is certainly more that can be done.
Ok, so here’s the part where I completely fall off my high horse. After a day at the terraces and one nasty sunburn later (I’m not complaining…ok maybe I am), we made our way to our hotel, exhausted, sunburned and in need of a good rest. On our ride over, we began to realize that most of the hotels in the area offered pools that tapped the mineral water. And sure enough, so did ours. Oy. Although my distain for sucking the planet of its natural resources is pretty high, I have to admit, lounging around in the mineral water and mud bath didn’t feel too bad either. And while I’d probably reconsider using a hotel that used the natural spring water if I were to go again, the fact is, that they were already offering the pool to their guests and we were already there. Oh well. No one’s perfect.
Along with the pools and mud bath, the hotel also offered an array of spa treatments, one of which was the fish foot pedicure. You better believe I was in. If you haven’t heard about this, basically it’s a tub full of fish who naturally feed off of dead skin cells on your body. You put your feet in the tub and they swim right over and start lunching on your feet. While it is unavailable in the States due to an inability to sanitize the fish according to health standards, I have seen it available in Asia and in Europe. So I was all in. It sort of tickled and you had to keep your feet perfectly still. Lots of fun and totally worth the 5 Euro. Win.