Our stay in Romania is the ideal pretext for a long weekend by the Black Sea. Small precision: the water of the Black Sea is blue, its name would rather come from its high rate of hydrogen sulfide giving a blackening effect from a hundred meters deep
In Romania, when we talk about the Black Sea, we think directly of Mamaia, a huge seaside resort. But we found a small pearl not far away, Eforie, known for its therapeutic treatments based on mud and very salty water from the Techirghiol lake
Eforie is made up of two towns: Eforie Nord and Eforie Sud. Having found a cheap hotel with spa in Eforie Nord, we decide to choose this one
Part 1: Travel Diary
Part 2: Practical Tips
Part 1: Travel Diary
How to get there
From Bucharest we take a train to Constanta (2h30). We change platforms and 17 minutes later, another TER train takes us to Eforie Nord (30mn)
Photo: the 1st class in Romania
Many elderly people come to Eforie Nord to take care of themselves, our trains will also be full of elderly people. The funny thing about Romania is that the train is so slow that people don’t hesitate at all to get off the rails to cross, or to sit on the platform waiting for the train
They discuss among themselves, happily, without knowing each other. Sneaky vendors regularly come by to offer us drinks, chips and red fruits. Apparently we can still buy a ticket even if the train is full, in this case, we will have to stay standing during the whole trip. In 2nd class, there is no more place in the corridor, people without a dedicated seat sit on the floor, on the other hand it’s quieter in 1st class
I was able to find some info about the mud baths in Eforie Nord on Romanian blogs, but Google Translate has trouble translating them correctly so I had to ask the reception for directions
On the blogs, they talk to us about Baile Reci, but in fact Baile Reci is a thalasso center, we have to go and see a doctor there and then he prescribes the appropriate treatment… for at least 5 days. Even at the hotel, we asked for a seaweed and mud wrap and the hostess made us understand that we had to have a doctor’s prescription for this kind of treatment
However, there is a center where everyone can go called Bai Reci. This is the one we are interested in. It is located 5km from Eforie Nord, on the edge of the Techirghiol salt lake, it is open from 7am to 7pm. The reception of the hotel calls us a cab and asks the price for us: 25 lei, it is really a pigeon rate, but we accept anyway (normally it is 3 lei / km great maximum)
When we arrive, the woman at the reception desk calls her colleague who speaks English. We are relieved to have someone who speaks English who shows us the infrastructure (a little old but clean). For 15 lei/person, we can stay as long as we want. There are 3 spaces: space reserved for nudist women, nudist men (it’s separate eh) and a “family” space where a swimsuit is obligatory. So we choose the family space which is called “sector comun” in Romanian
There are plenty of deckchairs on the sand, communal showers (with doors that do not close properly) with fresh water, showers with salt water at the edge of the lake (this water also comes from the lake). We are told that you have to stay 10 minutes in the lake, 10 minutes to dry off, then smear yourself with the mud that is in the buckets, wait 20 minutes and then rinse yourself in the lake. It is obligatory to rinse with salt water for a better effect. It is necessary to avoid putting mud on varicose veins, on the areas where you had surgery, and on the heart if you have cardiac problems
There are also massage areas (not included in the rates), for 40lei/30mn and 60lei/60 minutes. These are really local rates, it’s great! I love it!
We follow the directions religiously. JB puts mud all over his body. She smells a bit bad, so I only put some on my face to make it smell better… The other clients are also covered with mud, and they dry in the sun, standing up. From time to time, we see old couples, covered with mud, hand in hand, walking towards the lake and helping each other to get rid of the mud. The mud is removed very quickly and does not leave a trace on the swimsuits
The water of the lake is warmer than the sea but at this time of the year (September), it remains warm for me
On Romanian blogs, I read someone complaining about the cleanliness of the lake, that it isn’t clean and full of algae and worms. At first I didn’t see them, and then by looking carefully, I saw them! Little red worms swimming happily in the water! What a vision of horror! So, instead of rinsing myself in the lake, I rinse myself in the salt water shower next door, thinking that even if the water of this shower also comes from the lake, it may have been filtered a minimum, to get rid of algae (and worms I hope)
We take a quick fresh water shower, before walking back to our hotel (we did not see a cab). The best would have been not to shower at all and let the minerals act on the skin, but I can’t get this image of worms in the lake out of my head and I absolutely want to rinse myself as soon as possible
To get back to the hotel, you have to go along part of the lake. At one moment, JB asks me “do you smell something? or is it me who stinks?” – i answer him “what are you talking about? I don’t smell anything!” – before chuckling “I’m kidding! it’s not you, it’s the lake that stinks!”. Ohlala, it really smells like a sewer, it’s unbearable. And to think that we got coated with the mud of this same lake only one hour ago. I really wonder if the smell is coming from the super healthy minerals – or because the lake is really polluted?
1h of walk later (it’s good, I filled my quota of sport for the year), we finally arrive at our hotel
It’s true that the skin is softer, but to really heal, the patients must stay at least one week
Note: the next day, I have a huge acne flare-up on my cheeks. I don’t know if it’s related or not 🙁 in any case, it’s known that mud and/or clay masks detoxify the skin and can cause pimples.
On the following days we alternate between a walk along the beach and a spa. JB also takes advantage of the gym. The water of the Black Sea is very cold for me, even the locals have trouble, I see them tanning more on the beach than swimming. In Eforie Nord, there are a lot of stray cats and dogs, but they seem to be happy and healthy. We have even seen cats eating pâté, I think they are fed by the inhabitants
Part 2: Practical Tips
- To make a balneo cure, many choose to stay at the Europa hotel, a doctor is present there to prescribe you all the care you need. The ideal duration is 2 weeks
- If you aren’t curist/sick – in short healthy – you can participate in this local activity by going to Bai Reci. I told you about the worms, the algae… then, when you see the locals bathing happily there, I tell myself that it probably contributes to immunization.
- We recommend our hotel Aqvatonic Med Spa – Steaua De Mare if you like spas. On the other hand, it is far from the salt lake.
- For the journey between Constanta and Eforie Nord, if you don’t want to do it by train, you can take a cab, 17km separate the two cities.
- The beach at Eforie Nord is superb for children, the water isn’t deep, there are almost no waves. On the other hand, the sand isn’t super fine, come with flip-flops.
- Train: Bucharest (Gara de Nord) – Constanta A/R: 160 lei/person – tickets can be bought online at https://www.cfrcalatori.ro Attention, you have to mark “gara de nord” as the departure place.
- Train: Constanta – Eforie Nord Return: 7,6 lei/person, non-numbered seats – this ticket cannot be bought online, you have to buy it at the station, there are automatic machines where you can pay by credit card
- Hotel Aqvatonic Med Spa – Steaua De Mare: 30€/night/double room
- Approximately 50lei/meal for two
- Bai Reci: 15lei/person
- Cab downtown – Bai Reci: 25lei/one way