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Ness talking with Dominic Littlewood, presenter of the BBC Holiday programme
I think Stef's enjoying the mud bath, look at that big grin!

Yesterday we had made bookings at the spa for two treatments today and two more tomorrow. With no hurry before our first session at 12.30, we spent a lovely lazy morning in bed and in our room, also making use of the fast internet connection to upload lots of pictures. Then we walked through the quiet empty town and the leafy pedestrian avenues to the spa complex. It was hot, 30°C or thereabouts, and the heat and laid-back atmosphere zapped any energy, very pleasantly so.

At the spa, we were a little early and met a film crew. Well, a guy with a large tripod and an oversized handycam, and a “soundman”. We heard them speak in English and struck up a conversation, and asked if they were filming for Michael Palin? It turned out that the short stocky bald man we were speaking with was Dominic Littlewood, a presenter for the BBC Holiday programme! We took some pictures of them shooting and then went inside for our sessions. (Note: months later, back in the UK, we saw the programme they had filmed – they had done a nice job of it, switching between moody black and white footage with ponderous music to symbolise the communist era to colour footage to represent the modern European outlook – of course it was nothing like the reality of Lithuania we saw ourselves!)

The spa complex was smart, modern, clean and bright, and smelled fresh. We had to go along one of the two corridors along the outside to find our cubicles, behind which there were sectioned off baths, one per person. Ness and I were next to each other, and were attended by the same lady, who looked like she meant business. The first bath was a mineral/herb bath, nothing very unusual, just a nice soak in the local mineral-rich water. I had to undress and just get in and lie back, that was all, very relaxing. Then the bath lady told us time was up, we got out and dried off, and met again in the corridor. The next session was at 1.30 so we just stayed at the spa. First we had a cupful of the salty and not very nice water to drink, and then plonked on some of the very comfortable lazy chairs and footstools in the quiet relaxation room off to one side. I read for a few minutes and quickly drifted off to sleep. Then the second bath. Again we found our numbered cubicles, same procedure as before, strip and get into the bath… full of dark-brown lumpy mud! My first mud-bath ever. I had a lovely 15-20 minutes soaking in the warm mud, relaxing even more, if that was possible, and then had a thorough shower to wash all the mud and lumpy bits off.

After all this relaxing we both needed to walk a little and went for a stroll around town, and headed for the lake and there went for a drink and bite of lunch, of typically Lithuanian potato pancakes, at a café. Groups of students (?) with various country flags were heading back in various directions. In the background we could hear an award ceremony taking place in English, and across the lake we could see some people running through the woods. After this we went to the supermarket to buy things and then returned to our hotel. Looking at the supermarket you could hardly tell you were anywhere “different” – different brands and a better selection of vodkas, but the format was the same overall.

The oddest thing about Druskininkai is this peaceful atmosphere and feeling there’s hardly a town at all here, just leafy lanes. Cafés are set well back from the road and you really have to spot them, among the trees. Well, not the one across the road from our hotel, which is were we went for a cheap meal. We got poor service though, wrong wine, etc. but it was still cheap so that was ok. A super day, maybe I haven’t done it justice in the clumsy write-up, but the relaxed feeling was superb, partly the spa baths, and partly just the place itself. The couple in the room above us were bonking non-stop, and she was a loud moaner to boot. Ah well, bit of a turn-on in a way, and still managed to drift off to sleep quite easily anyway. Oh, I forgot – back at the hotel we had another Turkish bath, all to ourselves this time.