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I’ve just got back from a brief weekend away where I went to a spa.

I first got my penchant for spas living in Japan, after I finally plucked up the courage to go to an onsen.  Visiting such thermal hot springs, along with bathtime culture, are one of few hobbies that Japanese people do to take rest time from their busy, high pressured schedules.

There are big differences between spas in the UK and overseas, including Japan.  In the UK, people tend to go to spas for beauty treatments and pampering, often with female friends and they often are popular locations for hen nights before a bride gets married, hanging out with her female friends and relatives.  Some of the few men I saw in the pool today were talking German: hanging out in spas is not a British male past time!

The pool I went to today was the UK’s only thermal hot springs, not too far away from where I live, but somewhere I don’t go to very often – the historic city of Bath.  It was a treat to relax and a visit to look forward to during the busy monotony almost of working week in week out.

One of the peculiar British quirks that struck me today was people using blue floats in the pool.  (Google images of ‘pool noodle’ to see what I mean!)  They wrap around you and are clutched under your arms to keep you afloat.

Onsen pools in Japan are so hot you can’t stay in there for very long.  This pool I went to today was a nice and warm temperature- you could stay in for hours without worrying you were going to faint, and the buoyancy aids were a fun way of keeping afloat.

One holiday in Germany I went to this place – go if you get the chance – the pools and massage showers, mix of jacuzzis and floating pools are unmatched in my limited experience of visiting spas so far.  Whilst this was a fun place I went to in Miyagi.

Actually one of the best bits of my time in the water was going around a jacuzzi area, where there was a slight current.  It wasn’t like a whirlpool, but a very gentle one. Once you were in the current, you didn’t have to propel yourself round, the water just carried you.  I went round several times!  Getting into this part was tricky though, because there were a couple of groups of women you had to get past, who hadn’t quite realised they were obstructing an entrance to a lovely addition to the pool.  Sometimes we have to overcome and get through obstacles to get to the place where we can just be and move freely, almost ‘in the Spirit’ – being carried through and propelled, carried along in God’s grace.

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