Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Joining a Nudist Colony

October 8, 2008 Joining a Nudist Colony
Joining a Nudist Colony?! No, but going to the Friedrichsbad in Baden-Baden was probably as close as we’re going to get. People have been going to this bath house since 1877; but, if Mark Twain, Rick Steves and his wife could do it, I guess we could, too. I was a little hesitant, but when we saw the building itself, I knew this would be a class act. The outside of the building looks like a palace. There are 17 steps to the bath experience. We were told that steps 7 through 11 would be coed nudity. Uh, OK, I guess. Anyway, once you enter you just follow the numbers on the rooms to each stage of the experience. They kind of lull you into the whole thing by placing a large sheet in the locker where you undress. A lot of good that does! You wrap up, walk down the short hall to find out Step One is a shower in a large room with 6 large rainshower heads and wall jets. The attendant takes the sheet and that’s the last time you’ll be seeing one of those for a while. After several dry saunas of varying degrees of warmth and another shower, you get a soap and brush massage that is wonderful. Then off to the steam room. By this time, I was almost not even noticing all of the nude women walking around. It was all too relaxing to worry about it. The next step was the tepid whirlpool. Ahh, that would feel great; but when I push the door to enter, I thought, "What stage begins the coed thing?" Whoops, too late. I was there. Well, I just got in like everyone else with only my head sticking out of the water and was totally relaxed. I was actually congratulating myself for being so cosmopolitan and blending right in, but then this pear shaped woman got into the pool and instead of sitting down immediately like everyone else, she bent over to touch the bottom before sitting. Yikes! I didn’t need to see that! I tried to look up at the beautiful ceiling with the stained glass and Roman columns, but it didn’t help. I started to smile and then kept biting my lip to keep from giggling. At which point, Paul finally showed up. Thank goodness. We stayed in the two main pools for about 20 minutes and then parted to continue the last half of the bath. The whirlpools were followed by a tepid shower and then an ice bath. Wow, that will wake you up. As soon as I got out, an attendant was there with a warm sheet to wrap in. That was great. Then the moisturizing cream application and into the relaxation room. That was fabulous! I walked into a large dimly lit round room with beautiful moldings on the walls and ceiling. Several women were wrapped like sarcophagi on a circle of tables. The attendant wrapped me in a crisp warm sheet and then pulled up the blanket to wrap me like one more mummy. I immediately fell asleep. After about 20 minutes I woke up and went to the last room, the reading room, where they had a variety of magazines in several languages and cool water to drink. I think I’m ready to buy the season pass.

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