The story goes that the 6th century King of Iberia, Vakhtang Gorgasali was hunting with his falcon in the ancient Abanotubani district. He set his falcon out to catch a bird. The falcon and its prey fell to the ground……
King Gorgasali went looking for his beloved falcon, and found it and the prey it caught boiled in a hot spring. This was the discovery of the hot springs and eventually to the founding of the new capital – Tbilisi.
My discovery of the hot springs – the sulpher baths was one of the most non-erotic but still erotic in its idea, totally fun and extremely relaxing experiences of my life!!
With the start of the New Year and the Eastern Orthodox Christmas on January 7th, Tbilisi was filled with Russian, Azerbaijan and Albanian tourists. The sulpher bath houses were PACKED filled with these tourists.
The bath houses are located in one area in Old Tbilisi. Here is what the area looks like:
I was FINALLY able to book a one hour, private bath with massage (actually a body scrub), clean towel and a small tube of shampoo for 70GEL at Gulo’s Thermal Spa – that’s about $35.00CAD.
The main lobby. My private bath room was located off the main entrance room. You can see part of the door, to the left, in the below picture.
Inside the changing room of my bath room. Behind the white door is the bath area.
Inside were showers, what looked to be a sitting area and the tub, filled to the brim. There is a faint smell of sulpher – but not enough to bother me. And, after a while I didn’t notice the smell.
A small toilet in the corner:
The venting dome high up in the ceiling. The room is actually underground – so the venting window is what you see on the tops of the domes visible on the streets.
Giving me a tea before I entered, my instructions from the receptionist was to first shower, soak in the tub for 20 minutes then someone would be in to give me my body scrub.
You can either go in the baths wearing a bathing suit or naked. I was in my own private bath, so I went naked. The water was hot! Not too hot – but hot enough to notice!
Twenty minutes later, a young Georgian woman came in and directed me to get out of the tub and lay on what I thought was a sitting area. I said I was naked and she waved her hand at me like it was nothing….so out of the tub I went and was instructed to lay on my belly on the mosaic stone. There she took an exfoliating mitten and scrubbed me, HARD – my neck, back, bum and legs! She then took the bucket you see in the above picture of the bath room – filled it with hot water from the tub and threw it on me, to rinse me off! Next, she told me to flip over and she scrubbed my front area. Like a Thai massage – she scrubbed around my breasts – not on them. Again, she filled the bucket with hot water from the tub and threw it on me to rinse me off.
Next, she filled a cloth with liquid soap, made it bubble then covered me with bubbles!!! I was laughing out loud as she did this – it was so fun! She was laughing at me, laughing! With her bare hands, she washed my neck, arms, chest and legs with the soapy bubbles – then rinsed me off the same way with throwing buckets of hot water on me from the tub! She told me to flip over onto my belly where she covered me with soapy bubbles and washed my back, bum, and legs then rinsed me off, again throwing buckets of hot water from the tub on me!
She had me sit up, and next she dumped the hot water on my head!!!
She instructed me to go back into the tub!
I slid back into the tub, totally relaxed and my skin, squeaky clean!! She rinsed the soap away on the floor, cleaned her feet then left!
I had another 15 minutes or so in the tub. I was so relaxed from the scrub and soaking…then started to feel dizzy from soaking so long in the hot water. I had to sit on the edge of the tub for a few minutes to get my bearings before getting out…..
I showered, washed my hair, dried, then changed back into my clothes while totally sweating from my body temperature being so high!
The only thing I wished for was water to drink during the soak in the tub. I should have brought a big bottle of water with me, but I lost my water bottle the day I went skiing, so out of sight – out of mind!
Back in the main lobby, my wet hair up in the towel, I sat on one of the couches to cool down. I brushed out my hair and with the one hair dryer available to all, I dried it.
Cooled down, my skin clean and shiny, I left the bath house feeling about as relaxed as a person can be!!!
I will never forget this unique experience!
Sulpher baths and body scrubs are a reason to return to Tbilisi!