When I was fifteen, I went on a school exchange to Villa Park near Los Angeles in the USA. One day, I remember chatting, unceremoniously as one does, about going to the sauna in Germany – my parents had one at home that we used regularly. The expression of total shock and horror on the American students’ faces when I told them that we go there in the nude! Then uncontrollable giggling. They asked me a million questions about it. They could not believe it! And when they eventually did, they didn’t buy that it was nothing sexual.
I was truly surprised. I thought people went to saunas naked all over the world. For a German person, there’s nothing to it. Seriously. At hotels, in spas – Germans drop trou. Later in my life, my sister and I, sitting in a German hotel sauna in our birthday suits as per usual, were joined by an English lady in a swimming costume. Germans find that unhygienic, especially if that person puts no towel underneath herself. We were polite, though – and strongly impressed that she was obviously equally tolerant enough to stay. After she’d left, we couldn’t help joking that Brits and Americans are probably born with their swimsuits on.
So all you lovely people who did not grow up textilfrei will appreciate how my English husband felt when – and he only told me this recently – apparently one of the first-ever meetings with my parents involved all of us going to my parents’ sauna naturist style. I love him dearly for submitting to it without batting an eyelash. He played it really cool, while thinking my dad was subjecting his bits and pieces to some killer scrutiny for eligibility.
Meanwhile, all is well. My husband has taken a proper shine to ‘sauna Continental style’. It is actually quite liberating and much less of a fuss than you might think. Come on, when in Rome … You should give it a go! Canadian friends have come to love visiting Claudiustherme in Cologne. Our all time favourite is Neptunbad. Take your pick from more venues here: https://www.koelnbaeder.de/sauna.html.
Next week, it will be one of those days …
The Pommes Buddha says: FKK – every day!