Tuesday, March 3, 2009

the answer is: to be

Naked. You may have read my original post about sauna culture where I mentioned that I would eventually be going with a friend of mine. Well yesterday was the day, and during the week leading up to the event I definitely felt some degree of anxiety, although the fact that my friend and I had planned on making our trip on "ladies day" kept it to a minimum.

From start to finish, our day was relaxing. We took our time and walked from Amsterdam station through the center of the city and then through Vondelpark. We had more than agreeable weather, flowers were sprouting, and I was able to take in the architecture overload that is Amsterdam... good stuff. At the end of the park is Sauna Fenomeen.. a little hippy-esque type place which you may not even notice if not for the herbal smells wafting to the street (oh and the crazy painted walls.)

When we entered, the first thing I noticed was the smell of eucalyptus and the sounds of Buddha Bar. We checked in and went to the locker area, stripped down, and headed for the shower. I had to leave my towel at the entrance, and I was uncomfortably aware of my bare behind facing the common area.. but I got over it quickly. Over the next couple of hours, we did a circuit of 1. sauna, 2. outside in the garden to cool off, 3. shower/rinse, and repeat. We did that 3 times before lunch. The final step was the Turkish sauna, which is a super steamy room (and the source of the eucalyptus) where you immediately sweat like crazy and your nose opens up from the medicinal smells. I think I could have hung out in the steam room all day, it felt so comforting and invigorating at the same time. This winter, with all of the dry heat indoors, my skin has been so dry, but afterwards my skin was noticeably silky and moisturized...

Overall, the experience felt wonderful and I want to go more often. It was extremely relaxing, I was doing something nice for my body, and although I had my towel on for the most part I feel like I conquered a fear, and that's always a good thing.

I'm definitely not interested in going to visit the sauna when there are both men and women together. There was something special about the all female environment. There was a grandma with her daughter and her grand daughter... Turkish ladies covering themselves with mud, women relaxing in silence or chatting away with friends sipping mint tea.

I give the day 5 stars. I got loads of exercise while walking, girly energy, yummy Indian snacks, architecture craziness, even more love for Amsterdam, flowers, and public nudity, o
h, and I got home and passed out cold by 10:30 and didn't wake up until this morning. yaaay!

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