Jan 13 2013
That is what the JO's of the "aft tool shed"-the not so affectionate name for the frame 154 eight man bunk room on America used to say when they wanted to get rid of us Department Heads who went there to hide out from the terror in the ready room.
They would say, "nude up" and just start stripping. That got anyone not actually living there out in a hurry.
Today, the S.O. and I went to the Therme Mineral Bad near our village. Its a pretty nice deal-albeit a little pricey. It is kind of like a Japanese onsen-without the same customs as a Japanese onsen.
You arrive and pay your fee. For the two of us it was 21 Euro which paid for 2.5 hours in the indoor and outdoor pool ( both are heated), access to the whirlpool baths, and access to the saunas. More on those later.
You go into a row of changing rooms. Using the arm band they give you-you can open up an empty locker and put your stuff in there once you have changed. They have individual stalls for changing-but they are not broken out by sex. So men and women are "suiting up" into their swimsuits in the same room. ( But you have privacy in the changing stall). once in your suit-you exit the stall and go down the row and find a locker. You put your stuff in the locker-use the arm band to lock it-its pretty cool how it works-and then head on out into the indoor pool area.
We went in the indoor pool-then slid on out in the water via "doggy door" of sorts to the outdoor pool. Given that it was 30 degrees out and snowy-any excursion out side the water ( such as getting out to go to the outdoor whirlpool bath) was "invigorating" to say the least. After trying all the whirlpools and sliding back into the outdoor pool after a couple of quick stints through the snow, we returned to the indoor pool.
After another 20 minutes of so-we worked up our courage and went down to the sauna.
Its actually a series of saunas, set to different temperatures and humidities. However the thing is-that down in the sauna area- the swimsuit comes off. And the changing room where you remove said suit is a mixed gender room. So imagine my surprise to walk in and see a 20 something girl pulling off her top to show me a rather exquisite set of breasts. ( At least they looked that way in the 2 seconds I saw them before turning my head away in order not to be assigned the nickname, gazer.) To say that this threw the S.O. for something of a loop is an understatement. She held back in the entry way-still in her suit-while I wrapped the towel round me and did a recce run to confirm that, yes Virginia, there really are naked women sitting next to naked men in the saunas. So I came back and explained the layout to her-and said that if she was uncomfortable with it, we could go back up to the pool and skip the sauna. Trouble was, she really wanted to get warm in the sauna, so she finally shed her Japanese reticence and disrobed from her suit. ( Personally, I think she makes an eye catching sight when she is naked-and recently opportunities to see her so have been nearly not enough, so I was more than happy she decided in the affirmative. I may be biased, but she still looks great for a woman in her mid 50's. )
So wrapped in our bath towels off we go to the Finnish sauna. Where I had expected to just sit wrapped in a towel-but quickly discovered that people remove said towel to cover the wood seats, leaving one to "hang out" so to speak.
With a moments hesitation, off came her towel and like an beautifully carved statue of Venus, there she sat in her naked glory. Since I was very conscious of not wanting to be branded as some kind of pervert, I quickly learned to keep my eyes averted, looking up ever so quickly and then back down to the floor-or over at the S.O. Who was sitting with her legs crossed.
So we then did the circuit, moving from the 70 degree C sauna up to the Roman Steam bath. ( Which is at 95 degrees and was one I could only stand for a short while-I am not a fan of steam baths finding it hard to breath in them.. Interestingly enough-they had a nice little bar down here-where one could sit in one's bath robe and / or towel and get a beer. ( For the next time-we are bringing bath robes, as many people did).
The S.O. was uncomfortable a bit-but she wanted to "try it all". Wonder if I could get her to try that attitude with other things in life.
After getting nicely warmed-we showered. These had separate stalls-but it was still like a middle aged version of the shower scene from "Starship Troopers". Back to the changing room-suit up and back up to the pool.
We made the circuit once more time-ending up in the indoor whirlpool. After which we decided to get dressed and head home for beer and dinner. The S.O. was actually quite happy with the experience, even the sauna part-and it was kind of nice to be able to sit with her. In a Japanese onsen, she would have been with just the girls and I with the men. Which would have meant no conversation while sitting there soaking up the heat.
Evidently the Germans are more used to this modus operandi. As we were standing in the entrance-a woman asked us if we needed help. We explained our confusion-and she explained how it all worked. Which was what led to my confirmatory recce run.
It was a good way to spend a cold and snowy afternoon. And I got the "Peter Sellers" check in the block.
In the car on the way home-the S.O. said something about "having seen more penis's in two hours at the Mineral Bad than she had seen in her entire life". ( We were talking about the sauna). I couldn't resist a response.
"Clearly you needed to get out more."