Guten Tag Everyone,
Today I am going to take a look at German Spas, specifically the Mediterana in Bensberg.
No one knows exactly where the word spa comes from, but there are two theories.
- One is that spa is an acronym for the Latin phrase, “salus per aquae,” or “health through water.”
- The other is the origin of the word “spa” comes from a town in Belgian called “Spa”, known since Roman times for its baths. The town was so prominent that the very word spa became synonymous in the English language with a place to be restored and pampered.
The practice of bathing in hot springs and mineral waters dates at least to the Babylonians and Greeks, and probably much sooner! Modern spas have their roots in ancient towns famed, for the healing powers of their mineral waters and hot springs. Travellers would come to “take the waters” and restore their health.
In the 19th century, Europe’s great spas were destinations for the wealthy, which went there to “take the waters.” Water treatments are still considered the heart of the spa experience in Europe.
Germany has a long history of spas and wellness. Romans appreciated the hot mineral springs at Baden-Baden, and beginning in the 18th and 19th centuries, Europe’s royalty and other aristocrats would meet at the great German spa resort towns. You can still have a taste of the life they enjoyed at spas like Mediterana in Bensberg, close to Cologne, one of the top spas in Europe.
The reason I mention the Mediterana, except for a Turkish bath in Istanbul, which is not the same but totally unique, this is the first European Spa I had experienced.
Now, if you have never been, there are a few differences between North American spas and German spas.
Germans are not as uptight as us North Americans, when it comes to nudity at the spa. In German spas, the saunas and steam baths are coed and nude and before I went for the first time I was told it was easy, if you relax.
There are etiquette rules in place to ensure all guests have a pleasant, safe and relaxing stay. For example, there is no film or photograph equipment permitted.
Having travelled for a living, I considered myself somewhat worldly and I expected my first visit to a German spa to be just one more of the many travel experiences.
What I did not expect to occur was the nervous factor.
My wife and I arrived at the spa mid-morning and were welcomed by a long line a patron’s, spanning every age group imaginable.
The line moved very quickly and the greeting was very pleasant.
We headed to the change room and I was surprised to see only one door.
I did find out later that if co-ed changing was not your thing there were other rooms but you had to search them out.
I undressed and quickly threw on a robe and slippers. One of the rules of the spa is that you wear a robe or a towel when walking around the community areas.
Before experiencing any of the spas, we decided to explore the facility. The first person I saw was an eighty year old man walking out of a one of the spas in his full glory and behind him, his wife.
At first I was embarrassed and looked around to see if anyone else was taken back by the sight. Then I quickly realized that not only had no one noticed … no one cared.
Throughout the day I saw bodies of all shapes and sizes but in a very short period of time, I realized, I stopped seeing the bodies but instead, people.
The spa was incredible.
There were a number of themed spas & wellness creations, arcades, gardens, massage & beauty areas as well as an incredible dining experience.
During one of the relaxing times between spas visits my mind began to wonder and I realized as North Americans, how jaded we are when it comes to the human body.
In North America television, any given night during prime time hours, we can not only see people shot and blown up but also the autopsy to find the cause of death. If however, if there is a hint of the naked body on during that same time period, many people will not only get out of shape but also complain to the shows sponsors. It takes me wonder if we have all our priorities screwed up. We came into this world naked, we should not be embarrassed.
We enjoyed five or six spas that day, swam in the outdoor pool, lounged to the whirlpool and ate a gourmet meal.
We spend the day at the Mediterana and the time flew. At the end of the day, I felt invigorated and totally refreshed.
When in Germany, I will not say a visit to a spa is something you should consider, I am telling you it is something you must do.
Now you don’t have to take my word for it, click this link to find a story called “Naked”, you will find a very funny account of an American ladies first visit to a German spa.
To find out more about the Mediterana, visit the link below.
If you have any stories about a spa visit and would like to share, we would love to see them.
Until then, have a fun day.