We love new experiences.
That’s probably the main reason why we like to travel so much. We love the adrenaline of doing something we’ve never done before, to be lost in translation in far away countries, to have a cold shower at minus 25 in the Andes mountains, to discover that we’ve been eating cow stomagh while we thought it was some kind of vegetable, to jump in rivers, swim in oceans and sleep in the same room as a Tarantula.
But to be naked with complete strangers? No that was never on our list…
And then we got a coupon
It was probably for a birthday or so that we received one of those theme coupons. You know, the kind that gives you the choice between several activities different locations but all with the same theme.
The theme we got was “Relaxation”.
There were not so many options to chose from:
– massage: meh
– private sauna: sounds boring
– public sauna: that’s like a sauna theme park, right? With a couple of different saunas and swimming pools? Allright let’s take that one.
So we started scanning the websites of the different public saunas.
“This one looks nice… oh wait… it says no swimsuit allowed… hmmm…”.
“Or this one?”
“Wow looks very nice!”
“Oh it’s also no swimsuit allowed… strange…”
“Allright, this one is swimsuit mandatory! But it looks rather small and very busy… “
“euhm…. maybe we could…”
“well, what if… what if we went for one of those no swimsuit places?”
“Don’t you think that will be strange?”
“Don’t you think everybody will watch us?”
“What if we end up in some kind of sex club?”
“eh… well… You know what? It’s a coupon, so technically it’s free. We go check it out and if it appears to be some kind of weird place we turn around and leave again.”
“Sounds like a plan!
“Allright! Let’s do this!”
“Wait! What if we meet someone we know?”
“Oh boy how akward would that be… That should really be avoided!”
So we ended up booking an afternoon in a public sauna complex about 200 kilometers from home
Because of the distance we also had to book a B&B in the neighbourhood to spend the night, but on a saturday morning in December we were off to our first experience with public nudity.
We hadn’t told anybody about the sauna. Our friends and family thought we were just going away for the weekend. When someone asked what we were planning to do, we lied that we didn’t know yet.
We even listened to the nice lady from the B&B for half an hour explaining us all the possibilities to spend an afternoon in the area just because we didn’t have the guts to talk about our plans.
And then we were at the gates.
We probably spent 10 minutes or so in front of the gate but it felt like we’ve been there forever.
“So… we’re going in?”
“Let’s have another sigarette first”
“Ok one more and then we go in”
I remember the nervous feeling as if it was yesterday… It’s like those dreams you’ve had the night before going to a new school or before you have to give a big presentation. Everyone will be staring at you and suddenly you notice that you’re not wearing any pants.
With the difference that this is not a dream, and you actually won’t be wearing any pants…
In the end, the only ones staring… were us…
We walked in, got a slight introduction about what was where, undressed, covered ourselves in the complimentary bathrope and walked in.
Even though we were still kinda stressed out, the place instantly felt welcoming and relaxed. There were some people around either in their bathropes or in their birthday suit, but nobody paid any attention to us.
We were the ones staring at them.
We spent some time walking around the place, pretending to be checking out the information plates on the different saunas while we were actually checking out the different visitors and eventually hung our bathrope to the nearest coat rack to the jacuzi and got in the water as fast as we could.
When we got out we almost ran back to our bathrope and put it back on without even drying ourselves.
It took some time to get used to the fact that it was complete normal to be naked.
After an hour we didn’t rush anymore to get our bathrope back on.
After another hour we didn’t notice the other people’s nakedness anymore.
And in the end we didn’t bother anymore to put our bathrope back on while walking from the jacuzi to the sauna and then to the swimming pool.
We were naked and relaxed.
And it felt great!
For the next couple of years, on a saturday in December, we would drive all the way to have this experience all over again.
Photo credit: “The Deutsche Fotothek Sauna” by Deutsche Fotothek / CC BY-SA 3.0 de