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Guest Blogger: A. Catherine Noon & Rachel Wilder
Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

The Salt of the Earth – An Unusual Travelogue

Thank you to Delilah for hosting Rachel and I today.  I wanted to share a little travelogue with you, though this one didn’t require any travel since it takes place right here in my hometown, Chicago.  Have you ever been to a salt cave?

Many of us use salt in our food every day, but have you ever stopped to consider this humble mineral?  Considered by herbalists to be valuable in healing and stress relief for centuries, we are only now beginning to realize the health benefits of salt in ways our forebears knew implicitly.  For the first time in the United States people are able to try the healing benefits of Crimean salt, a health secret known for decades in Poland.

The Galos salt-iodine caves are located in Chicago.  We arrived at a regular-looking building that houses the Jolly Inn Restaurant.  Parking is available across the street.  It couldn’t be less like an undersea environment if it were directly downtown.  We walked up to the glass door that seemed identical to any you’d find at a neighborhood salon.

Step through the door, though, and enter another world.

The lobby is lit with salt lamps, the lighting lowered.  Comfortable benches line the right wall with cubbies for shoes.  One does not wear one’s shoes inside the cave; one wears clean white socks.  We arrived and stowed our shoes and donned our socks, then the cave door opened.

Stalactites hang down from the ceiling, offering an immediate sense of the otherworldly.  The door is heavy, not like a normal interior building door but more like that for a sauna.  You step in and immediately sink several inches into rock salt crystals.  I thought they would hurt my feet but they massaged them instead, scratching pleasantly as I walked.  The cave is about twenty feet in an oval, lined with anti-gravity lounges.  They suggest you spend the first five or ten minutes walking slowly around the cave, massaging your feet and releasing more salt into the air.

Then you sit in the lounge and move it backward, reclining it so that your feet are above your head.  The lights are lowered and soft, relaxing music plays in the background.  The walls are made from bricks of the salt, which sparkles in the lamplight.  As you begin to relax, the music swells and you float away.  This lasts for about 50 minutes.

The next time you visit Chicago, I highly recommend a trip to the Galos Caves.  If you are curious, poke around their website.  There is a gallery of photographs and more information on the health benefits of the salt as well as how they mine it and make the caves.

What unusual travelogue would you write if you could?  Of what unusual things does your hometown boast?

My links:
Blog | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | LinkedIn | Pandora
Knoontime Knitting:  Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Ravelry
Noon and Wilder links: Blog | Website | Facebook
Evanston Writers Workshop:
Blog | Website | Meetup | Forum | Facebook | Twitter | Annual Conference | ConTweets
Team Blogs: Nightlight | The Writers Retreat Blog | Beyond the Veil | LGBT Fantasy Fans and Writers
Publishers: Samhain Publishing | Torquere Press

Check out BURNING BRIGHT, available from Samhain Publishing.
Check out EMERALD FIRE, available from Torquere Publishing.

12 comments to “Guest Blogger: A. Catherine Noon & Rachel Wilder”

  1. Ilona
    Comment
    1
      · August 8th, 2012 at 1:26 pm · Link

    Technically speaking I don’t have a ‘home town’ as I was an army brat. However I have adopted Cardiff as my home town after marrying my husband and we have the distinction of being the city where both Torchwood and Dr. Who are filmed. We also have a Castle and The Millennium Stadium :D

    As for a travelogue I’d ask my second for his help in writing about the travels of a travel agent. He has been all over the world and loves going to odd places and eating lunch with odd people (terrorists in the middle east for example.)



  2. A. Catherine Noon
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    2
      · August 8th, 2012 at 10:20 pm · Link

    Cardiff, huh? I’d love to see Cardiff someday. I fell in love with it when I watched Torchwood.

    Wow, a travel agent? That sounds so glamorous. What is his favorite place to visit?



  3. A. Catherine Noon
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    3
      · August 8th, 2012 at 10:21 pm · Link

    Thank you to Delilah for sharing her blog with us for a return visit. We are grateful to be here!



  4. Rachel Wilder
    Comment
    4
      · August 8th, 2012 at 11:40 pm · Link

    I’m deff looking forward to seeing these ! We might need to fit them into my next trip to Chicago. The pics on their website look awsome !



  5. Moira
    Comment
    5
      · August 9th, 2012 at 12:08 am · Link

    I haven’t traveled much in my lifetime, but I guess I could write about Panama (as in Central America). My hometown of Las Vegas, while ripe with stories of mobsters and such isn’t all that unusual and well, everyone knows all Vegas’ secrets. (No what happens here REALLY doesn’t stay here contrary to popular belief)

    Great post!



  6. A. Catherine Noon
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    6
      · August 9th, 2012 at 7:41 am · Link

    Hi, Rachel! Yes, absolutely we can go to the caves when you come to visit. I think you’d love it.



  7. A. Catherine Noon
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    7
      · August 9th, 2012 at 7:42 am · Link

    Hi, Moira! I used to live in Las Vegas. It’s an interesting place. I love Red Rock Canyon, Mount Charleston, and Bonnie Springs. We also recently went to the Natural History Museum there and it’s quite nice. There’s a lot of good stuff to do, even if you’re not super into casinos. :)

    I’m glad you stopped by!



  8. Ilona
    Comment
    8
      · August 9th, 2012 at 12:20 pm · Link

    I have no idea – he has visited so much of the globe. Though if his photos are anything to go by, he loves places that are out of the norm and have lots of wildlife to see. A lot of them are from the Far East too :D



  9. Darla M Sands
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    9
      · August 10th, 2012 at 3:01 pm · Link

    This sounds interesting! The thing of which I’m most proud in my area is the Air Force Museum. Come to think of it, I need to go back.



  10. A. Catherine Noon
    Comment
    10
      · August 13th, 2012 at 9:13 pm · Link

    Thanks for visiting, Darla! I hope you do visit the Air Force Museum. That sounds fun!



  11. Ann Q
    Comment
    11
      · August 21st, 2012 at 1:19 am · Link

    I actually went down a salt cave in Germany, and we had to wear clogs.Here in Australia, we only have salt lakes, not nearly as interesting.



  12. A. Catherine Noon
    Comment
    12
      · August 21st, 2012 at 8:00 am · Link

    Wow, clogs, huh? Did you get salt in your shoes? In the cave here, the rock salt is several inches deep that you walk on, so I could see it falling into my shoes if we wore them (they’re not allowed in this cave, actually).

    I think salt lakes are interesting, never having seen one. I drove through southern Utah on my way to Chicago from Nevada once, but we didn’t get close enough to see the great Salt Lake that Salt Lake City is named after. I hope to one day. (For that matter, I’d love to see Australia, too.)

    Thanks for stopping by!