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Well, today has finally arrived, our last full day of our World Trip. After today it’s homeward bound, gradually returning and reintegrating with the “normal” world. I’ll omit the philosophising. We’re glad to be wrapping it up in such a relaxing place as Karlovy Vary. There is plenty to see and do, but not so much that it overpowers you and leaves you feeling “obliged” to pack it all on, and most of it is all about relaxation one way or another. A great way to just slow down the pace for a couple of days.

Yesterday, as we passed the Eden spa on our way back from the walk, we popped in to change our spa appointments for later in the day, i.e. for this afternoon, which made for a more sensible arrangement of the day, with the walk first and then the relaxation. Of course this involved lots of head-shaking and “no, not possible” but in the end we did manage to change the timing as well as add another massage, having enjoyed our rub-downs so much yesterday. So today we started by first going for a walk through the wooded hills behind the town centre. I took pictures of the Karl Marx statue at the end of our street. Marx was one of the many famous and illustrious visitors who came to Karlovy Vary to “take the waters” in its heyday.

A path led up the hill through the forest. A lovely walk, with glimpses through the trees of the town below us, and higher up the hill the views got better and better as our view expanded. The hill was dotted with lumps of rocky outcrops, some statues, columns, etc. A nice walk to start the day. We curved round the contours of the hill and turned off right, more steeply uphill, past a little statue of a kind of bokkie, and continuing on up. Near the top there were some outlook points, a couple of atmospheric “pagodas” and we stopped at a yellow-and-green wooden one from where we had great views.

I fiddled with the camera to try and get a nice picture of us together up here. A little higher up was another outlook with a pretty cast-iron railings and a tall crucifix, and I caught a great shot of three priests/monks in white robs stood by it. We made our way up there too, and then descended a little to the rustic café on the northern side, a wooden house and a shady terrace with pleasant tables and a view looking north, over the less picturesque and more “ordinary” side of Karlovy Vary. Unfortunately the service was bad, on the point of rudeness, and we both tried our best to not let it get to us, but it was bloody annoying. It was still early in the day but already quite busy. A curious grey Afro-haired man was bringing musical equipment in his clapped out estate car. A Russian (?) family were having lunch, the father going to town with his expensive Canon kit as if he was on a “shoot”. While we sat there and had several coffees, followed by several beers and played cards. Preparations were underway for a folk/traditional band concert later on but we didn’t buy tickets and left to head back into town for our 2.30pm spa appointments.

We meandered down along the paths through the woods, which brought us out somewhere just behind the Puškin, right by the Eden spa. We had plenty of time before our slot and killed some time wandering around, bought postcards, had another coffee at the Eden café on top of the spa. Then we went in for our spa sessions. It was much quieter today. In fact, we were the only ones, initially at least, and I managed to get a picture of the mirror-like undisturbed waters of the pool.

For the rest of the afternoon we spa’d and relaxed, soaking and floating in the pool, and then going upstairs for our “pearl baths” in individual rooms. The pearl baths consisted of baths with little jets of water directed at various points around your body, nice and relaxing. Then we had our “Kneipp hydrotherapy” together, stepping back and forth between the hold and cold foot pools, which provoked a tingling feeling in our legs. We finished off with our massages. Ness had a different masseuse from yesterday and afterwards told me it had not been as good as yesterday’s session, but I had the same masseuse as yesterday, the pretty enigmatically smiling woman, and her hands worked magic again, even better than yesterday. Never imagined that I would enjoy being massaged but now I was beginning to think it would be good to learn how to do it properly ourselves. I walked out tingling, on a “high”, smiling to myself.

We spent the rest of the time back in the pool. Only a few other visitors were around and it was perfect chill-out stuff. An American man we got talking to said he was going for the “laser shower”. I had misheard of course and even after the laser show was over it didn’t dawn on me immediately. The “laser show” was a kind of sound and light play. The pool windows were darkened, the lights turned on to show a colourful display of many colours, the large statue of the head of a “god” was lit up, the music played, and the whole thing was orchestrated and controlled by computer, with various effects being switched on and off. Water gushed into the pool through overhanging tubes at the end, and “rain” started to pour from the ceiling, although we couldn’t really see from where. Maybe from the sprinklers? Ness and I were the only ones in the pool to enjoy the rain shower and we splashed about like kids.

On the way back to the hotel we tried again to book a table at the nice cosy and convivial looking restaurant partway up the hill. It had that wooden beams country kitchen feeling and a nice menu of Czech cooking, but unfortunately it was now shut, closed early on a quiet day. Earlier we had popped in and the waiter had been very apologetic that he couldn’t promise us they would be open. Never mind, plenty of other options. Back at the hotel we relaxed in our room for a little while and then collected the key from reception for the hotel’s wellness room – yes, more relaxation. We had a brief session in the whirlpool and the nice hot sauna, I steamed in the shower contraption.

We got ready to go out and walked back down and headed for Švejk, relieved to find it open and with plenty of customers. Perfect. I had a very large and tasty pork knuckle, washed down with the excellent dark Czech beer, and Ness had something similar. Even the “Czech service” couldn’t affect our high spirits. Later a group of ten women arrived and sat at a large table near us. I asked them if I could take a picture of them as they made for a great people shot, with their large pints of dark beer, but one of them said no. Ah well. Very full we walked back to our hotel via a slightly different route, through the ornate kolonada. A lovely way to have spent our last “proper” day, and now we start the long trip back. Back at the hotel we curled up in the comfortable bed in our large elegant room. What a fantastic day, and what an incredible “year-and-a-bit”.