Saturday, June 30, 2007

June 29 ~ Vals

So one of the last big trips we took was to Vals, Switzerland. Our destination was the "Therm Vals". It's a bath house of sorts, built into the side of a mountain, using a hot spring for its source of water. One of the guys out here rented a car, and after 5 hours of driving we arrived. The town has about 1500 people, and is very un-commercialized. This bath house and hotel are the biggest buildings for miles around.

These baths were by far the most bizarre swimming experience I've ever had. They baths were designed by a famous German architect, Peter Zumthor. The place felt like an art museum, only filled with water. The architect really wanted you to explore the baths and find everything on your own, so he didn't put any signs or maps anywhere. You'd think you were at the end of a hallway, then look thru a little doorway to find a really cool bath. It felt like a labyrinth.

There was this little bath that looked pretty normal, then when you swam around one of the corners, there was a narrow passage way in the corner. You'd go thru that to find a room 30 feet high with really cool lighting. It was called the Harmony room, and if you found the right note to hum, the place would reverberate til your ears hurt.

Every room was really unique like that. There was one where the water was full of flower pedals, and little jets would make the pedals dance around. Another room had 3 huge shower heads, each with a unique concept. One was 20 feet tall and put out a really thick stream of water. You could control the pressure and temp, and it'd fall the 20 feet, which was great for massages.
They actually looked more like art pieces.

We only had 2 hours to enjoy them, since we had to drive back and get to Leysin by 9. So, even though time was limited, it was definitely worth the driving. If I come back to Switzerland, that will be the 1st place I visit. If I honeymoon in Europe, that will be the place.

Go here, and look at the photo gallery. Simply amazing.

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