The Full Monty

We didn’t realize it last night, but the building that we looked at straight across the alley from our bedroom window was a famous thermal bathhouse, the Friedrichsbad, built in 1870 on top of the ruins of an ancient Roman bath. Here’s another look at it.

Here’s a picture of our hotel from the alley between the two. Our room is the middle dormer window on the top floor.

Today, we decided to spend the afternoon in the Friedrichsbad.

WARNING: the following may not be suitable for our children to hear!

Today, Wednesday, was mixed-sexes day in the baths . . . and the Friedrichsbad is always TOTALLY NUDE. But they don’t allow photography, of course, so you’ll have to use your imagination for the rest of this post.

The whole experience lasted three hours.

First, we disrobed, then took a shower . . . together with another couple. It was their first time in a public bath, too, I suspect, as they seemed even more timid than us. It was the most incredible shower, ever. Hot spring water blasted at near fire hose strength.

Next, we went into progressive hot air rooms, the second room hotter than the first. This lasted about 25 minutes.

After that, we were given soft brush massages, then put in progressive saunas. Again, the second one was hotter than the first. And, again, this part lasted about 25 minutes. In the second sauna was a big, burly, hairy Russian who had apparently had open heart surgery or somthing since he had a huge scar running the length of his solar plexus. These are the sorts of things you notice in the baths . . . among other things.

All of this is done with German precision. The stations and times are posted and you are expected to follow instructions to get the full effect of the baths.

Next came a heated soaking pool about 5 feet deep for 15 minutes. Up to this point, the other bathers were couples in their 50s and 60s and I would say that we were the healthier specimens.

The next station was a shallow heated pool with air jets like a jacuzzi. This was our favorite, so we stayed here for about 25 minutes. Towards the end, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie came in.

Just kidding.

But a few younger folks did join us here. The funny thing is that by now we really weren’t even conscious of the nudity. Really. Well, mostly.

We washed, rinsed, repeated the pool and jacuzzi part, then showered and jumped into the cold pool. And I mean cold! I let out a yelp it was so cold after all the hot waters.

After the cold dip, we were given another massage, this time with body lotion, then taken to the sleeping room where we were wrapped up in a sheet and blanket like a cacoon, then left to sleep for about half an hour. And that was it.

Not your usual Wednesday afternoon, but quite relaxing!

One thought on “The Full Monty

  1. Pingback: Getting to Takayama | The Road Less Traveled

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