Sunday, 4 December 2011

Braving the German Bath House

So the thing with Germans is they like to get naked. Watch any German TV station for five minutes and you will see what I mean. Their bath houses are no exception. In fact, it´s not so much a custom as it is a strictly enforced rule. After a five hour hike in the Alps, every muscle in my body hurt and I was freezing so when Jutta suggested that we head straight to this beautiful old bath house in town I quickly agreed. Only once we were standing in front of the entrance to the wonderful world of spas, saunas, steam rooms and pools did I remember this condition of entry. Four years ago, my thirteen year old self disregarded the rule and I received many disapproving stares until I was asked to either strip or leave by the attendant. Of course, I left. At fifteen, it was much the same story. However, at seventeen, I decided it was time to face my fear of swimming completely naked in a room full of strangers and so, I had to bare all. 

The bath house WAS beautiful with high domed ceilings and elaborate tiling and individual wooden change rooms. The steam room was my favourite because vision was slightly hindered once inside and half an hour gave my muscles the recovery they so desperately needed and my skin the best detox it ever had. In the end I got used to all the naked people around me but after an hour I was more than happy to put my swimmers back on and plunge into the public swimming pool outside.

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