Sunday, September 6, 2015

Nudity at the Mineraltherme...

Say it isn't so...

After yesterday's hike to the Bad Urach waterfall, I woke up with slightly sore thighs this morning and was way overdue for a trip to Mineraltherme Böblingen.  I talked Bill into going and mentioned that I might even check out the textile free area. I had a feeling Bill wouldn't be into getting naked, but with a little cajoling, he usually can be talked into venturing beyond his comfort zone.  We had to get some cash on the way in, but the parking lot at the bank where Bill usually gets cash was full.  We went to the next lot, then made our way through Jettingen's annoying road project.

As we approached the spa, it became pretty clear that a lot of people had the same idea I did.  Bill quickly grabbed a free parking spot on the way into the Mineraltherme.  Lucky thing he did, too.  They were pretty packed.  When we went inside, there was a line to pay the cashier.  

But first, we needed lunch, so we stopped at the Mineraltherme's restaurant.  It was fairly empty.


I said something obnoxious to get him to make this face.


Here's a more normal photo.

After perusing the menu for a few minutes, I decided to have the trout special pictured below and a glass of locally made Riesling that was surprisingly good.  Bill had a beer and a salad plate with avocado wrapped in smoked ham.


We started off with these shot glasses of bean soup.  I really enjoyed this.  In fact, the bean soup inspired me to make some soup sometime before we head off to Austria on Friday.  I love soup, especially when it's getting cooler outside.


This was my lunch.  The trout was very nice.  It was lying atop the French culinary trifecta of celery, shallots, and carrots and served with parsleyed potatoes.  How healthy.


Bill's salad.  It was very large and quite tasty.

As we were finishing lunch, I was watching people go downstairs into the textile free area.  I noticed a lot of them were wearing bathing suits or robes.  That made me feel somewhat less tentative.  But then, just as I was starting to relax, an old woman walked past our window almost completely naked. She had a very small towel covering her front, while her backside was totally nude.  I was really not expecting to see someone's naked ass as I finished my lunch while sitting in the non-nudity area, but I figured I could go with the flow.  Bill said the look of shock on my face was priceless.  

After lunch, we got our tickets, went into the locker room, changed into bathing suits, and promptly got in a stau as two very large women blocked the way out because they couldn't get their locker to lock.  After a quick shower, we went to the main pool and waded around for awhile.  Then we went outside and dodged the many bodies cavorting in the water.  I think today was the most crowded I've ever seen the Mineraltherme, though it was pretty busy on Easter Sunday, too.

We ventured into the warmer pool near the solarium and talked for awhile.  I watched a few people suck face.  Bill complained about the chlorine, which he said was stronger than usual.  Then we went back inside.  We totally skipped two pools because they were really full of people.  I decided to be brave and go into the textile free area to see if it was something I wanted to try.  To my surprise, it was totally not a big deal.

Yes, there were quite a few naked people walking around.  A lot of them were people one might expect to be embarrassed about being naked, though perhaps refreshingly, they weren't at all perturbed about it.  I find that attitude very liberating.  I mean, most of us have things about us we'd like to change.  We're all naked under our clothes.  And you can always avert your eyes.

There were also people wearing swimsuits.  I expected to feel uncomfortable, but I didn't really.  I went back upstairs and got Bill.  He came down and had a look after some gentle persuasion from yours truly.  After he checked it out, he conceded that it wasn't that bad, even though I sensed that to him there's a difference between looking at naked people and being one himself.



Why am I reminded of this?

I said we needed to come back on a weekday morning and try it.  Today, it was just way too crowded, even if I had felt totally at ease in my birthday suit.  It was so busy there weren't any places to sit.  I will definitely try it out, though, even if Bill sticks to the clothed area.  I want to be prepared for when we finally visit Baden Baden and hit Friedrichsbad.  I really think I could assimilate to this nudity thing going on in Germany.  Bill probably never will.

After checking out the textile free area, we each had a glass of Grüner Veltliner and watched a water gymnastics class... which really looked more like water aerobics.  The teacher cracked me up.  She was tall, slim, and had a very high pitched voice.  I liked how she had everyone wave their hands in the air as she said "Tschuss!".

I chatted with Bill about the importance of being brave... as I realize that it's been about seven months since the dentist told me I need a tooth extraction.  I am one to talk about not being chickenshit. But I am less afraid of being naked in front of people than having a dentist take out my tooth.  I do have an appointment to have that done, though.  As of the 22nd, my dental implant process will begin.  Anyway, in my defense, Bill almost always thanks me when I push him into doing something outside his comfort zone.  He's just bashful about his body, which is something I can understand.

We needed to drop by Patch Barracks to pick up a few things, gas up my car, and top up our phones.  On the way there, we were in front of what appeared to be a soccer mom in a Toyota.  Bill said, "There's an American with a lead foot behind us."

"How do you know?" I asked.

"Because she's driving a van." he said.  "And it's a Toyota."

"Are you starting to become annoyed by Americans?" I asked him.

He laughed and said, "Yes."

I'm sure he's not the only one.  On the other hand, given that we are Americans and most definitely annoy Germans, I thought it was a pretty funny observation.  If we were comedians, we could probably make a SNL worthy sketch from being Americans in Europe annoyed by Americans.  

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