I know the wait must have been torturous but my latest midlife adventure blog is finally here! July's adventure could be classed as cheating slightly, as it wasn't a local business I visited this time, but I always knew this project would need to adapt and change due to circumstances. In fact, the unpredictability makes it even more fun!
So...what did I do? Well, my birthday was in June, and as our kids are now perfectly capable teens, my husband and I planned a short break to Spain. Spain is a special place for us, as it's actually where we met all those years ago....at a foam party (as you do). The idea came to me that whilst in sunny Espagne, there may be some adventure we could find to do. Life is stressful and it's always good to relax in the calm and peaceful atmosphere of a spa, so it was with much curiosity that I came across something called a Beer Spa in Alicante, around an hour's drive from where we were staying.
Browsing the website I was far from convinced of the apparent health benefits to bathing in beer, but hey, what the heck....something different after all! I booked hubby and I in for the beer circuit option and began looking forward to my latest midlife adventure.
The day I booked, Saturday 24th June, turned out to be a major celebration in Alicante as we struggled to find parking. There was a real festival atmosphere with music, parades and huge works of art all over the city. After some quick research from trusty old Google, we learned that the city was so alive due to the bonfires of San Juan and that the magnificent, colourful artworks would all be set alight that very night.
We had some time before the Beer Spa session, so we soaked up the party atmosphere and cooled off from the 30+ temperatures with our first beers of the day in a large marquee serving various Spanish foods. Florin enjoyed some fried fish but when the bill arrived we quickly realised that the prices were highly inflated due to such a touristy day in one of Spain's most populated cities. Wandering around we admired the statues which I learned are known as "ninots" with their killer cheekbones and dreamlike characters, I couldn't help but think what a waste that these vast works of art would be no more than ash by midnight.
DJ's and musicians kept the party atmosphere going in full flow, with a promotional stand handing out free samples of Greek Ouzo. I'll admit I was not a fan, to me it tasted like drinking liquid liquorice (that sweet from childhood that you either loved or hated).
Already feeling quite tipsy we arrived at the beer spa and were welcomed by a lovely Spanish woman who predictably struggled a bit with my Scottish accent and sadly my Duolingo lessons were not proving very effective in real life...after all there were no cats washing the floor to talk about, and I'm pretty sure no horses had been to the nearby supermarket (if you know, you know).
Having changed into our swimsuits, the vivid sunshine outside was a challenging contrast to the cellar type of room we were led to for our spa experience. As my eyes adjusted, I could make out 5 or 6 barrel style jacuzzi baths and a member of staff carefully helped me climb the stairs to get in and find my footing. I could see why this was quite important as the way back out would for sure be more difficult after a few beers. Relaxing in our boozy bubbles, a blend of herbs and spices was added to the water and we were shown how to fill our huge wooden mugs from our own personal tap. Apparently we were allowed 5 refills each, but I knew there was no way we'd manage that. I couldn't picture standing up after that, never mind contemplating the slippery stairs back out. I couldn't help but wonder how many accidents there had been...
Anyway, health and safety aside, we spent around half an hour in the beer jacuzzi which was very relaxing, especially whilst enjoying ice cold Alahmbra beer. According to the website, the benefits of bathing in beer are many, including:
Preventing wrinkles, providing vitamins, relaxing muscle tension, reducing stress, aiding skin cell renewal, improving blood circulation, and removing toxins. Supposedly there are benefits for your hair too, and whilst Florin poured a mug of the icy drink over his head to test this out, I decided against that.
The spa lady came back to let us know we could either stay in the jacuzi the full time, or move onto the other circuit treatments. Nervously she watched us exit the barrel, slightly wobblier than when we'd gotten in, but still sober enough to manage the narrow stairs. 15 minutes in the sauna with our trusty beer mugs was more delightful relaxation, although it was hard to tell if the sauna was actually any warmer than the Spanish temperatures we'd soon be facing outside.
Next, on to the finale. Time to relax on a bed of barley! We waited patiently for the spa lady to leave before laughing at how absurd this part of the experience seemed to us. The room was laid out with double bedframes filled with barley, which looked more suitable for feeding livestock than a comfortable place to lie. There were clean sheets and pillows placed on top the spiky grain, so we decided we may as well try it out. I don't think either of us would say it was comfortable, but the warming artificial fireplace and green (why green??) ambient lighting made our last 15 minutes at the beer spa a memorable and comical experience.
Changing back into my clothes whilst entertained by the enthusiastic hiccups of another beer spa customer, I left the beer spa with smooth skin, the perfect level of inebriation, and a huge smile. One last surprise before we left as we were handed our certificate for our Beer Baptism.
Stepping back into the blinding sunshine, the Alicante party was still going in full swing, and we enjoyed more parades, delicious food, and navigating the optical illusion mosaic market street, which seemed even more surreal after a few beers.
We didn't last the full day to watch the sculptures being burned, but I can't say I'm disappointed by that. To me it was more important we had the chance to admire the ninots in all their glory before they were destroyed.
Another successful midlife adventure to tick off, and I can't wait for the next one....Why not sign up to my newsletter to find out what goes on behind the scenes of this newly adventurous forty something writer?
Read more about the beer spa (various locations) here: