As experiences go, it’s pretty hard to top riding around the centre of Berlin in a bed. But luckily, I didn’t have to trouble my brain cells for too long as my English friend, Cecil, was coming to town. Cecil, the
big perv German culture vulture had decided that he would like to go to a German sauna while he was here and who was I to refuse? OK, so I’d spent four years in Latvia refusing to go to saunas, but it seemed it was finally time to grow some balls and go be around complete strangers’ balls – an inevitable moment in every young woman’s life.
As I glumly regretted the Apfelstrudel, cookies, chocolate brownie, crisps and packet of Jaffa Cakes I’d eaten that week, Cecil dived into the naked corners of the internet. While I was grunting through a few half-hearted sit-ups and butt-lifting exercises, Cecil gleefully resurfaced with the new gem on the Berlin spa scene – Vabali, a 20,000 square metre, Balinese nudist colony in the heart of the city.
Having thought that my sauna adventure would consist of sloooooooooooooooooowly walking to a sauna, dropping towel and hastily exiting again four seconds or so later, this was not exactly good news. A quick look at the website revealed that the spa is open from 10am to midnight daily, and that the minimum amount of time even a chicken-shit Irish girl can spend there is two hours… Brilliant.
Trying to cheer myself up with the fact that at least I hadn’t had to fork out cash for a new bikini, I met Cecil at his hotel. As we walked to the car park to pick up his rental, Cecil had a moment of unparalleled genius while waiting for the green man:
“What’s that noise for? So deaf people know when to cross?”
Possibly in a bid to show that his driving skills were sharper than his medical knowledge, Cecil expertly manoeuvred the car out of the parking space and towards the exit. However, when we reached it, it was clear that he should have paid upstairs. Waving apologetically (and a bit Mr. Beanily) at the car waiting behind us, Cecil reversed, angled, and parked the car around 50 metres from the entrance. This left me in the enviable position of being face-to-face with all of the happy drivers who had to swerve around our car on their way in. Cecil took off at a run to the first floor machine, which was out of order, then to the second floor, where the machine worked, then clattered back down the roundy rampy thing in his sensible, English shoes. Really, it’s lucky I have a sense of humour…
We finally made it the spa where my humour and “naked spa” German failed me. We checked in (in jittery English), got our little watch things that would calculate our bill as we sauntered round in the buff, collected some towels and made our way to the changing rooms.
I took off my dress and bra and then Cecil took the piss out of me for wrapping my towel around myself to take off my tights and knickers. The rules, which had been explained to us at reception, were that you had to be naked when using the pools, saunas, and pretty much everything else, but wear a towel or robe while walking from one place to the next. With everything safely deposited in our lockers, it was time to go. I fervently wished I’d given some thought as to how to stash a bottle of whiskey in a towel before arriving.
First on the agenda was a small heated jacuzzi. I dropped my towel and ran down the steps like a woman possessed. But once I was in the water, I actually started to relax. This wasn’t so bad! Everyone was naked – nobody was looking at me or judging my Apfelstrudel consumption habits; everyone was just chilling out (naked) and having a good time. The people there ranged from 18 to 80, with the dangly bits to match, so I really didn’t feel like I had anything to hide.
I emerged from the pool (think of Halle Berry in that James Bond movie…) dried off a bit, and we hit a sauna. Stretched out on a bench, naked as the day I was born, all I felt was a refreshing sense of freedom – oh, and bloody hot. After all that sweating, I felt like we’d earned a glass of wine so off to the bar we went. Amazingly for the last day of October, it was still warm enough to sit outside in just a towel. The sun shone, the birds sang, I drank my wine and tried not to look at the massive balls of the man sitting at the next table with his legs coquettishly spread. This was bliss.
We giggled our way through saunas, massage areas, swimming pools, rest areas with water beds, and more wine, until we came to two rectangular, side-by-side, knee-deep pools of water with smooth round stones at the bottom.
Cecil: Go on.
As the water was only knee-deep, I figured I could leave my towel on for this one but, for some reason, Cecil was insistent I take it off… I tentatively dipped a toe in the first pool – OK, that was pleasant. I sloshed through and up the steps at the other end. I did my toe-dipping thing in the second pool and jumped about a foot in the air. The water was FREEZING.
Me: NO, NO, NO! NEIN!! It’s bloody freezing in there!
As I tried to back backwards and Cecil pushed me forwards, you could probably hear me guffawing in actual Bali. Some Germans even stopped to watch the show, laughing almost as much as I was. I charged through the water, bits bouncing, and emerged triumphantly shivering on the other side to greet my new-found audience.
All in all, it was a great day and if you have to get your bits out in public, I highly recommend doing it in Vabali.
Disclaimer: Not everyone who comes to visit me will get to see me naked, so don’t get any ideas.