Today we went to the Sauna in Olpe, just me and Juergen. We left at 13:00 and arrived there about 30m later. They gave us locker keys and let us in, you pay on exit here, as you bill food and drinks to your locker tag. Not knowing the conventions here I followed Juergen’s example as best I could, I’ll document what I found here, dear reader, in case you are in Germany and want to got to one of these places. There are many around – just Google for “sauna” or “wellness” near where you are to find them, as you don’t need to be a member you can spend just a morning or afternoon pampering yourself. This post is devoid of photos – for obvious reasons!
My equipment: two towels, one bathrobe, flip-flops and shower gel.
We showered before entering the sauna area. If you have not experienced a Nordic or German sauna you may be surprised that it is mixed and everybody goes naked. It’s a very liberating experience.
This place had many saunas and was extremely busy with people of all complexions. We first went into a rose water sauna, which did have a smell of roses. Juergen said this is where you typically saw the prettiest women, but sadly there was only the two of us in there. Another piece of useful sauna etiquette is to make sure that whether you are lying or sitting you are always on your towel, even your feet. We spent about 15m in this one and then came out and went outside, here there was a small open-air heated pool that was oozing steam, not because it was particularly hot, but the weather outside was hostile, wet, cold and windy. We had a cold shower before we got in – this was unpleasant as I was not yet hot enough – so I made a dash for the pool where we spent 5 minutes slowly swimming back and forth. Then it was back inside to wait for Stefan and Philip – while waiting we gave our feet hot and cold baths, this is supposed to help the circulation – it only seemed to make my feet red. When Stefan and Philip arrived we went back in the rose water sauna – after about 15m we left, braved the weather outside and went into another sauna – the panorama sauna. This one was on the first floor, accessed up some steps and unusually, for a sauna, had windows which overlooked the lake, this is a big old lake but from the windows you could only see a small portion and the outside swimming pool, closed for the season as the weather was miserable so was the view. Then it was time for beer – how I love Germany!
We went to the restaurant, on the first floor of the main building, and 4 weiss beers were ordered. Stefan is not so comfortable with English so I spent most of my time talking with Philip, we talked about how the dental service works in the UK, children, his background in the Netherlands, beer, Brexit, etc.
After beer we went down for another sauna, this time it was a timed sauna, which was very full by the time we got in there, so we had to sit at the back – this is also the highest and hottest position. At the designated time a woman came in and she then poured scented water on the stones, after which she then used a towel in a windmill motion to circulate the moist hot air around. The air temperature drops a little and the humidity goes up a lot – and you really notice that it gets so much hotter. I believe that this is because humid air carries more heat – anyway its easy to feel. The process took her four minutes – she then repeated the process again, phew now it was getting really hot some people started to move downwards to the cooler parts. She did this again another two times – four in all, by the end I was feeling VERY hot. When it ended most people left quickly, but I stayed in with Philip – to finish having our eggs hard boiled – he is a hard man. We chatted for a bit, when we exited we went straight into an ice-cold plunge pool. I was still hot when I came out so I also had a cold shower (all of this was happening outside in the rain).
Now for some more beer – this time was also ordered food to go with the beer. Since we were due to be eating when we got back, Juergen and I shared a great salad which contained strips of beef, sautéed mushrooms and an excellent Balsamic dressing. Stefan and Philip both had calamari salads – ours looked much better and tasted lovely. The accompaniment was another four pints of Weiss Beer. By this point it was nearly time to leave so we decided one one more sauna – this last one was a Finnish wood fired sauna, it was drier than the others. There was one person in there when we got in and it was only after some time that I realised it was a woman – I had thought it was a man – strange how some people look with their clothes off. We exited the sauna after our designated 15 minutes – you time your sauna using one of the numerous sand-clocks dotted around the walls of the sauna, just chose one that has finished, flip it over and then keep an eye on it, it will be marked in five minute units.
After our last sauna, we had a proper shower, dressed, paid and headed out. We drove back, picking up some bread on the way and found that Becki and Lisa had cooked a wonderful lasagne with salad. What a wonderful day!