Julia Stephenson: The Green Goddess

A A A

I'm currently enjoying an eco-friendly mini break at the Mayr clinic in Austria. The clinic has sweeping views of Lake Worthersee, the purest lake in Europe, and is set in ravishing organic meadowlands studded with poppies, buttercups, daisies and cowslips; wild-flowers we take for granted but which are rapidly disappearing from the UK in our mania for immaculate green lawns.

Some of you may already be familiar with the Mayr's rejuvenating regime involving Epsom salts, stale bread rolls and sitz baths, which one either loves or loathes. This is my fourth visit and this time I'm deemed too thin for the stale rolls and am put on the "reconstitution stuffing" diet, a regime which involves piles of boiled potatoes at every meal. This is supplemented by delicious organic vegetable pâtés, soups, local cheese and yogurt.

I spend the day eating (each mouthful must be chewed 50 times to ensure proper digestion, and consequently meals take forever), gossiping with fellow guests, resting with a hay pack over my liver, and kneipping (a form of water therapy).

Where some hotels pay green lip service (encouraging people not to have their towels washed, which is usually just a ruse to cut their washing bills), the Mayr has gone further. The clinic recently installed 300 sq m of solar panels, which provide energy for all the heating and 35 per cent of lights and hot water.

All the rubbish from our rooms is sorted and recycled - the paper put in wicker baskets at the end of each corridor, and the glass water bottles are collected and refilled.

When we have a massage, the sheet we lie on is kept in a locker with our room number on so we can use it again (most places use reams of paper chucked away afterwards).

Austria is very environmentally aware - the Greens regularly poll around 10 per cent in elections and are well represented in parliament and local councils. If you want to be deep green you can even take the train all the way there. At 24 hours door-to-door, it would be quicker but for the four-hour pit stop at Munich station, a beery pleasure dome with enough retoxing opportunities to tempt the most vigilant Mayr devotee.

The Mayr is popular with county ladies, occasionally accompanied by their browbeaten, half-starved husbands. The spartan and austere regime seems to particularly appeal to those who went to boarding school or prison.

I'm enjoying the soothing Hotel du Lac leisurely atmosphere and the time to indulge in surreal conversations with fellow inmates. At lunch I sit next to a deaf dowager. "What does your boyfriend do?" she booms in Lady Bracknell tones across the silent dining room on her 50th chew of boiled potato.

"He's a builder," I shout back.

"Ah." Long pause. "Did you find him in the

Yellow Pages?"

www.golfhotel.at; European rail information ( www.bahn.co.uk)

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
people

Mike Tyson branded 'superhero' after a surprise good turn

Sport
A Rutherford Raiders shirt with the PornHub sponsorship
football

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Charlie Sheen said he would
tv

Charlie Sheen could be set to revive his role as a hedonistic womaniser

Life and Style
Jamie Oliver’s version of Jollof rice led thousands of people to post angry comments on his website
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
glastonbury
News
Apple CEO Timothy Cook
people
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Vividly drawn: Timothy Spall in Mike Leigh’s ‘Mr Turner’
film

Review: Mike Leigh's biopic is a rambling, rich character study

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

KS1 Teacher Cornwall

£20000 - £45000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd...

Early Years Teacher - Jan 2015 - China

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Position: Early Years TeacherRequired: J...

KS1 and KS2 Primary NQT Job in Lancaster Area

£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education is urgently...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes