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?
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