THE VOICE OF INTERNATIONAL LITHUANIA
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The UMI gallery in
Photo: Rasa Mekuskaite
If you believed the hype about amber you’d think it was the cure for all ills: heart problems, arthritis, depression, even the plague. I can’t vouch for any of those but I can say that having one’s face massaged with amber powder applied by amber balls is an absolutely delicious experience, like some rather superior form of tickling.
The ‘Gold of the North’ has been fished out of the Baltic Sea and traded for centuries – it was much in demand in Imperial Rome – and here today in Vilnius it is still big business.
There are countless shops, a museum devoted to the subject and a specialist spa which is where I’m about to sample a treatment.
I confess to being a bit of a fidget in some spas and when linen bags are tied round our bare feet and we’re asked to walk in different ways across a layer of small pieces of the fossilised resin – on our toes, on our heels, feet rolled outwards, feet rolled inwards – the familiar combination of mild irritation and self-consciousness begins to creep over me.
But once I’m lying on a bed and the therapist is gently rolling the amber spheres over my skin, pressing here and there, I succumb to the pleasure of the moment. I don’t know whether the ‘negative ions’ or whatever have done their bit: I can’t say I look any different by the end of the session but I certainly feel very contented and serene. And my purse is only lighter by about £15 which is certainly a lot cheaper than buying a piece of jewellery.
There are more elaborate treatments but the 20 minute one I’ve had is just right when time is limited.
We’re only in the Lithuanian capital for two days but because it’s relatively small and compact – certainly in the historic areas – you can fit a lot in. The old city is the major draw, with 1500 buildings one of the finest in Central and Eastern Europe, an UNESCO World Heritage Site of narrow streets, hidden courtyards and an extraordinary mix of architectural styles: classical, gothic, baroque.
Read more at: http://www.thetravelmagazine.net
We stayed at www.novotel.com
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