We chose to spend the day in the Sauna Paradeis. This is only open to the over sixteen age group, and all clothing, including a swimming costume is forbidden. After we emerged from the changing room I was relieved to see that most people had towels draped strategically while walking around. There were several different themed areas and we started in the Roman section as we reckoned they started the trend. Well that was ok, the tepidarium was just that but we were slowly starting to get used to the idea that we had a whole day here and there was nothing we could do but relax. We tried every sauna, pool, and steam room as each one was slightly different. We had a drink at the pool champagne bar and lunch at a snack bar. The a la carte restaurant had no appeal as we didn't fancy a huge meal at lunchtime.
While we were at the champagne bar we met our first and only English couple. They had flown in on a mini break and were regulars. At that point I didn't know where to look, my english reserve had suddenly resurfaced, so to speak. They recommended visiting a sauna for one of the themed events. So when we got back to our loungers, I had a look at the timetable. We didn't really understand what would be inolved . The english people had had a sauna where they received a yogurt facemask. They hadn't really understood what was going on at the time but they had enjoyed the experience. I had another go at deciphering the timetable, failed to get my head round it and put the idea to the back of my mind.
After a post lunch read for me, snooze for Mike we ventured out to a large log cabin outside. Mike said as he'd just woken up he didn't fancy anything too hot, this place was really busy. There were just two places left, so we squeezed in. The cabin was arranged with a large log fire opposite the door and wooden benches in two tiers on the remaining three sides of the room. There were people sitting on both levels. To one side of the fire and at second bench height was an area approximately one metre squared covered in grey stones, that had been heated by the fire. Mike was sitting with the stones on his left and his back to the wall, a large window was on his right. Two members of staff walked in (we knew this because they were fully clothed), one short with curly hair, the other taller. They started to waft the air around by twirling towels in a helicopter motion over their heads. Then they opened the large window. This did seem strange as saunas are meant to be hot aren't they? After a bit more wafting they shut the window and stood in front of the log fire. Curly hair delivered a speech, of which the only word I understood was mint and then I presume he was explaining the health benefits. Next he tipped a whole bucket of ice on to the hot stones next to Mike. At first I didn't notice anything too different, then he tipped the melted water from the bottom of the bucket on to the stones. The heat was phenomenal and there was a really strong smell of mint. Remembering that Mike hadn't wanted anything too hot after lunch I had a look at him and he was the hottest, reddest I have ever seen, and he didn't look well either. He said he was ok, but he did lean away as far as he could from the stones. Then we had more towel wafting, and I hoped that was the end. No, the cycle was repeated. More ice, more mint, more heat, more towel wafting. Then Curly Hair spoke to me. Uh oh, was I meant to volunteer for something? I said I was English, so he rolled his eyes and motioned for me to get out of the way. I shifted to my right, he wanted to do more wafting. I nearly started to get the giggles as I realised why our seats had been empty. Mike was in the hottest part of the room and I was in the most inconvenient. Our situation was ridiculous, we didn't know what was happening, we couldn't even understand 'get out of the way', and Mike looked ill. When it was over, it didn't seem so bad after all. The cool down took about half an hour. Mike had a cold shower and I headed for the water fountain to refill my water bottle. There was our curly haired boy, again. This time he was in the Men Only Sauna, with a crate of Erdinger Alcohol Free and each of the men had an empty Erdinger glass. Well, that looked more like it, but was it really as it appeared? Could there be more involved? Was this a different 'ceremony'? I checked the timetable and saw that there was another with the same name, in the same room at 6.00pm. I wasn't sure we would last that long, but Mike was keen to go.
We spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying whirlpools, steam rooms, jacuzzis, and various other watery delights. Mike went into the men only sauna 15 minutes early, as it looked as though a queue was forming. Could he endure the heat until 6.00pm, then last out for the main event? At five past I decided to do a 'walk by' to check on his well being. After all we don't speak the language and it may not have been an Erdinger freebie at all. As I walked past I stole a sideways glance. Yep, bunch of nude blokes sat in the sauna each with a glass and the curly haired lad stood there, fully clothed handing out the bottles. I went back to my lounger and waited to hear Mike's report of the experience.
'How was it?'
'Well, we sat and drank beer.' How strange.
'What was it like inside?'
'It was done out just like a Bavarian Bar'
'What did the curly haired bloke say?'
'Dunno the guys were just chatting.'
So, a typical scene from a bar was transposed into the sauna just add nudity, men only, funny foreign language and was the beer cold? It certainly was, ice cold.
In the end we stayed for 9.5 hrs and had a great day, would definitely go again and even consider a mini break, flying into Munich.
And if you remember the days on the beach when, you could tell who the Germans were because they hadn't shaved their armpits, well you're out of date. In my non scientific, observational study there was no armpit hair, in fact I estimate that 80% of all age groups, both sexes had shaved 'completely'.