1000 visitor to thelostfaucet from Wiesbaden Germany!!!
For those of you who know me you know exactly who this visitor is, but as promised here is a quick overview of some of the bathing spa experiences around Wiesbaden and beyond.
I must first note that based on my experience in Germany, there is no doubt that if you love bathing spas, you could spend a year in Germany… as long as you don’t care going co-ed and naked. For some people this can be intimidating, but if you want to experience some of the most amazing spas I’ve ever been to, you’re going to have to get naked!!!
Let me start with what I know:
Kaiser-Friedrich-Therme – Right in the Centre of Wiesbaden, this historical hot springs facility (or mineralbad) really captures the essence of the roman bath in Germany. This year (2013) it’s celebrating it’s 100th-year anniversary. As you can see in this photo, I really picked the perfect day to head indoors. That light German rain and grey sky were ‘forcing’ me into the bliss.
The entrance is beautifully decorated in tile. After you just walk through to hang a right to get to the front desk. Entirely reasonably priced, I think it was $4.50 Euro per hour. I went for 2 or 3.
Honestly, if you enjoy neo-classical aesthetics, this place is for you.
I guess I should have known when there was a co-ed change room. I thought “okay, that’s alright, especially if there are private change rooms.” So I changed into my bikini and with camera in hand I walked out to check out the facility. Immediately, the attendant stopped me – thank goodness I speak German – who pointed around my body saying, “This is all wrong. You have to take your bikini off and you, of course can’t take your camera in – there are naked people in there!” Okay I had been told. I suppose there may be more embarrassing ‘first time’ stories for naked spas, but I definitely proved myself a naïve German spa virgin.
But the real test of embarrassment would actually be taking the bikini off and walking out there. What can I say – I did – and it was great. I have to say that it did help that I was alone amongst strangers. Anonymous nudity – totally good with that!
Now to the spa. Of course I don’t have any personal photos, but this place was inspiring. For me there were so many options. I had never been to a spa with so many bathing options including at least 5 different saunas (wet and dry), three different pools, and so many neat little features and resting areas to explore.
I feel like I learned all my sauna etiquette that day, sitting on a towel while sweating in a wooden sauna, trying to keep a low voice when talking, and, of course, trying to look people in the eyes or just passed them to my avert eyes from the nudity! Of particular note was the 42-degree lounging hot pool, the heated stone steam bath, and of course, this was the very first time I was introduced to the etiquette of the ‘Aufguss.’
Aufguss – In the Finnish sauna, an attendant opened up the door, people began to flood in. I stayed in having only been there for a few minutes. After a minute the attendant (or Saunameister) used a towel to waft in cold air into the sauna then closed the door. He then told the group what aromatized water we was using – if I’m not mistaken I think that it was balsam or pine. The Saunameister then used a traditional wooden ladle to spoon water onto the hot sauna rocks. Immediately you felt the heat throughout the sauna. The Saunameister then begins to use his towel to waft around the heat producing an intense sensation. By the time he was going on to his third round of putting water on the rocks I thought I might die, but I stuck it out. I’m glad I did because the feeling of coming out and jumping into the luxurious, cold pool is just amazing.
To give you a sense here’s a photo of the procedure. It totally does not do it justice but you can imagine how hot is might get.
Though Kaiser Wilhelm Therme is luxurious, it is not the only option in this lux German city whose name literally means ‘Meadow Baths.’ The local swimming pools pump in spring water regardless of temperature. Thermalbad Aukammtal Public bath is great. You can swim in the vast spring water and have the knots in every part of your body aqua-jetted out of you. The main pool has both an indoor and outdoor feature that is connected, so you don’t even have to leave the pool.
But if you’re into sweating don’t forget to get you pass for the Saunaland. It’s a bit of a hassle to get to the back and forth between the two areas but it’s way worth it. Footbaths, at least seven saunas, multiple whirlpools to explore, dunk buckets, experience showers, ice buckets, Aufgusses, and just a beautiful space to spend the afternoon (or morning…. or all day.) It occurred to me, ‘people get to do this every week, maybe twice or three times a week. Cost? E$10 for the pool area plus E$18 for the Saunaland. If there is any doubt that Germans enjoy life, this is about as good as it gets. Some of the designs of the saunas were genius, like a loft sauna (heat naturally rises right?) and a fireplace sauna where the fire can mesmerize you as it heats the rocks above. Only Germans can find the simplest solutions to problems and have the courage to make it happen. They even have a map of the Saunaland!!! Two things that I love – together – saunas and maps!
Before I end with Germany, I do just want to mention the last spa that I attended in between weddings, family dinners and sightseeing. Stuttgart was my choice of places that I wanted to go. I actually got the whole family to go there. Why was this my choice? Of course, finding great beer halls and shopping played into our families’ general consensus of what constitutes a good day. But for me what attracted me the city is that it is home to some of the greatest hot springs in Germany and has a long tradition of bathing spas.
I was initially enticed by Schwabenquellen: http://schwabenquellen.de
This is one of those German-Super-Spas where everything is themed, everything is hot, and you would never have enough time for everything. We stopped in, I wanted to take some photos or at least get a tour. But alas my charm didn’t work as well as I wanted.
But I did however opt to introduce my mom to what was attracting me to these places. Together we went to Mineralbad Cannstatt. The water is very enticing both indoors and out.
One of my fondest memories from our whole family trip was taking my mom into these hot springs, where they have powerful jets. In the outdoor pool they are so strong that my mom was so mesmerized that she didn’t even realize her bathing suit was falling down. I said to her, “Now that you are pretty well naked we might as well go into the Saunaland.” No luck. But we did take advantage of the small lazy river. My mom was once again swept away by the current loosing all kind of things – her key, her balance, and dignity(?). It was safer for her in the middle of the lazy river where there were small little bubbles coming up from the bottom that tickled your feet, and all the way up! Good times.
With indoor and outdoor options, this was a great spot. What was great about being in any spa in Germany is how serious they take everything; all saunas are labeled with the temperature, humidity and suggested time. Often they even have a suggested route to take through the entire spa.
Everything is just really good quality. The LCD lights everywhere is just something that Canadian spas are beginning to pick up on. Again it appeared to be a public bathhouse. That is to saw it is publically owned, which again makes it so affordable and that makes it incredible.
I had my second Aufguss there in the outdoor sauna. Check it out on the map. It’s the triangle one outside. When you come out the cool air feels great and there are also bucket showers and crushed ice to cool you off.
Once again not the easiest way from the pool to the saunaland but it’s worth the walk. Oh to live in Germany and have all the time in the world to explore a new spa each week.
Well Wiesbaden, thank-you for being my 1000th visitor. Here are some spas around the Wiesbaden area. I’m sure that most of them are quite reasonably priced. Explore away! Let me know which ones you liked. Thanks for checking out thelostfaucet!
Freizeitbad Mainzer Strasse:
Sauna am Lenneberg:
Rhein-Main Therme, is one of those huge German sauna complexes – that would be worth checking out. The Taubertsbergbad place also looks very nice, but these would both be a bit further out of the city. Whatever you choose it’s going to be a great time!