One of the things that attracted me to the rally in Valais (apart from the roads and the bikes of course), was the mention of opportunity to visit the thermal baths nearby. Now I’m a huge fan of an ordinary hot bath after a rally, so this was something not to be missed. We’d had a recommendation from the lovely Richard to try out the thermal baths at Saillon, which were his family’s favourites, so after a quick breakfast, we headed off.

Castle above Saillon

We hesitated at the reception desk for a while, trying to work out which entrance fee to pay, and decided on the second level package of “Carpe Diem”, as it included hammam and sauna. Off we went to the changing rooms, wondering whether the norm here was with clothes or without, as I know that in some countries it’s considered quite unhygienic to wear swimming cossies in jacuzzis and steam rooms. Peering out to the locker side of the changing cubicles I was somewhat relieved to see folk modestly clad in their bathing suits, so we donned ours and wandered in to sample the delights. First up was the indoor pool, which we quickly wandered past to some steps down to an outdoor pool. It was cleverly done, as you could walk down into the hot water before swimming out under some plastic curtains to the outside world.

One of the outside pools

Well, what can I say? Obviously we have no pictures to share with you (except these little ones I’ve blagged off their website!), but imagine this if you will: a big pool with plenty of room to swim, bubbling jacuzzi all along the far wall, various water spouts and jets, all surrounded by stunning mountain vistas. Bliss.

After we’d enjoyed the delights of this pool, we were trying to work out what we’d actually bought for our upgraded entry to “Carpe Diem”, as there were signs to the hammam and sauna village off to the side of the outdoor pool, and it seemed to be free! Hmmm. Time to investigate. Off we wandered back into the indoor pool, and looked around for some clues. Eventually we noticed a sign to “Carpe Diem”, so off we went. We used our entry tickets to gain access to the top of a large spiral staircase, walked on down and were greeted at a second reception desk. The attendant explained to us, using a combination of the French we could understand and some pictures, that my swimming cossie was OK, but Tony’s swimming shorts (of the baggy shorts variety) were forbidden, and he could either wear tight Speedo type  swimming trunks or go naked. As he didn’t have any others, the latter was the only option open to him, so out went the modesty! She handed us some fluffy white towels which she recommended that we use when walking between rooms though.

Steam room sans steam!

We wandered through into the Swiss take on an old Roman baths. There were 3 different steam rooms, with varying temperatures, levels of humidity and fragrances, indoor and outdoor saunas, a foot bathing area, and a huge jacuzzi in the middle. Ahhh, bliss! We tried out all of the rooms, and I discovered that it was actually far more comfortable going naked, as let’s face it, you’re there to sweat! I did cover my bits up for the jacuzzi though, although Tony didn’t have that option 🙂

What a wonderful place! Our favourite part had to be the jacuzzi, which had the bubbly bit like the one outside, along with various very high powered water jets under the water at different levels, so you could effectively massage most of your body from shoulders to feet.

Carpe Diem Jacuzzi pool

We must have spent about 6 hours in that bit alone, punctuated by occasional forays back around the various steam rooms. One go on the sauna was enough for us though, as neither of us enjoys the dry heat as much as the steam rooms.

After we eventually tore ourselves away from the joys of the Carpe Dium sanctuary, we discovered another couple of outdoor pools back in the main bit of the baths. One of them was another fairly leisurely place with jacuzzi and water jet bits, and there was a final pool that was the standard pool type shape, and laned for people who actually wanted to swim. Needless to say, we didn’t get around to trying that one!

Our own picture of "our" waterfall"!

Eventually, nearly 8 hours later and totally pruned, we tore ourselves away and rode off to find something to eat. We were ravenous after all that lying around, so decided to try a pizza – after all, we’d had pizza once in France and were on our way to Italy, so it seemed reasonable to try one in Switzerland for a country comparison. Very nice it was too, and we wended our way home to the tent for a good nights sleep, serenaded by the sound of the waterfall.

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