When in Europe…Bath in Public

Thermalbad, Bad Windsheim

I’ve noticed I don’t journal as frequently as I once have. I’m sure you’ve noticed as well. I can only attribute that to a few things. The most important being that I am settling here in Germany (a good thing) so everyday adventures are becoming less of an adventure. I’m getting into a routine and there is not a new discovery each day. To list the rest of my reasons would be dull; so I’ll get on with it. I am happy to report, that I did go somewhere new on Monday.

It is called the Franken Therm. It’s in the town of Bad Windsheim. Thermalbad is the European term for the place; Spa would be a more American term. Essentially it is a large, wellness complex for adults with pools, saunas, and steam rooms; that offer relaxing atmospheres, massage, swimming, aerobics, and refreshments. A couple of years ago if you would ask me if I’d end up checking out a place like this I would have said, “Ew. I’d never go to a public bath tub. I won’t even get in the bath tub in my apartment, let alone a tub in a city.”
Well, you grow up, you open up, you relax, etc. and the next thing you know you’re thinking to yourself, “I gotta check out those bads (pronounced more like “bod”) that everyone is going to.”
It’s taken me a while to actually visit one, because for a long time I was afraid you had to go nudie in these joints. And since I am somewhat of a prude, I wasn’t really keen on that scene. The nudity however, is certain areas at certain times. The duration of my stay on Monday was spent suited up.
If you go to a thermalbad and stick to a basic plan; you hang out for a couple of hours and float around in numerous pools, of varied temperatures and varied salinities. When you’re done your well brined, shriveled, loosened up, relaxed, and have seen enough half naked senior citizens to last a lifetime.
I love old people so I really enjoyed myself. I’d definitely recommend it; and I’d, for sure, go back again.
Every thermalbad is different, but it is a practice dating back to the 5th Century BC. The naturally mineralized thermal water comes out of the ground at, at least 68 degrees F. Initially all baths were built around natural springs, but today they can be drilled. The hot, bubbly, salt pools have a relaxing effect on the muscles. They stimulate circulation, and are supposed to help reduce mineral components of chronic diseases in joints, and help with rheumatism and allergies. There are many famous thermalbads throughout Europe; with the most famous being in Budapest.
Here, in Bad Windsheim, the brine for the pools comes from 200 meters below ground where it is contained in a 12 foot thick dome. There are four salt pools. The salinity ranges from 1.5% – 12%; and the temperature range is 90-97 degrees F. The pools are large; and they have features like lounges with jets, ground-up jets, and whirlpools. There are two outdoor pools that stay open year-round. I know what you’re thinking…crazy…and yes..I hopped in both. Particularly interesting is the Salt Lake. It is heated and extremely salty. It’s so salty you have trouble not floating. It is mostly covered in a dome, but it is relatively open to the outside. I’m not sure what the water (or air) temperature was exactly; but it was just warm enough to enjoy for about 15 minutes before the chills started to set in. If it wasn’t the dead of Winter I think I could have been weightless in that pool for hours.
The second outdoor pool wasn’t nearly as warm as the first. I lasted all of two minutes in that one. What I found particularly impressive however, was that in this colder pool, there were lanes set up and people were actually swimming laps! My nose and ears froze off my face just looking at them.
The thermal bad was an adventure with a positive outcome, for sure, but to better set the scene for you; let’s just say it looked more like the picture below then the picture above.

Old People in a Pool

Is this a scene from Cocoon? I jest, obviously…and no these are not my photos. One doesn’t want to bring a camera into a spa. Thanks for understanding.
Good day.