Friday, August 15, 2014

Thirty in my birthday suit - Roman style

Yesterday I turned thirty.  I was a bit torn celebrating my birthday knowing that my nephew would not be celebrating his this year, but if I've learned anything this past year it is that life is short and we should live every moment of it.  So this year I decided to get out of my comfort zone and do something a little bit crazy.  For my sister's thirtieth birthday she went sky diving.  Since, I'm definitely not that adventurous I decided to check out the Irish-Roman bath in Wiesbaden.  You might be thinking - how is this adventurous?  Well, in a Roman bath it's textile free.  Meaning this southern girl would have to shed her inner microbiologist and her clothes.  Eek!  I was excited and nervous at the same time.  Adam and Eve did it, so why can't I?  And to be immersed in the German culture by doing something the Romans did on this land was somewhat surreal.  We saw the remains of a Roman bath that Constantine built on one of our first trips last year to Trier.  How could I pass up this experience?  Did I make you proud big sis? 
Located in the heart of downtown near the restaurant Alex
Wiesbaden is one of the oldest spa towns in Europe and is known for its hot springs.  The hot waters are around 64.6°C and are known for their treatment and healing powers.  I'm secretly hoping the water healed my thirty-year-old wrinkles and overused basketball /runner's knees...  Actually the whole experience wasn't as scary as I thought it would be but actually freeing.  All of the Europeans are totally used to this culture and nobody is ogling.  I also figured that going during the weekday was a safe bet that I wouldn't see anyone I knew.  #awkward  It was cool for once to let go of all the social norms I'd been taught and to take on this challenge I'd given myself.  
Gorgeous, right?
The Roman-style architecture and luxury of the bath was amazing.  I enjoyed going through each area of the spa.  There was a Finnish sauna with temperatures from 85°-90°C with a new aroma poured over the hot stones at the top of every hour, a Russian steam bath where you could barely see through the steam to your seat, a stone steam room where a contraption dipped hot coals in cold water throughout the hour, a tropical ice-rain shower, a whirlpool of hot spring water, a still pool of hot spring water, and a refreshing cool water pool.  I was hoping to sum my experience up with a partial massage, but they were all booked for the day.  I still had a relaxing experience.  The most memorable being the hot sauna with the aromatic scents poured over the coals.  The spa attendant pours it over the coals and then whips it through the room with her towel.  It felt like my skin was on fire when that air came my way.  Yikes!  The funniest experience was turning the corner and seeing a man eating a banana.  Is food allowed in the Therme?  I guess when you need your potassium, you need your potassium.
The lobby before the Therme

Romans in their birthday suits
Tips for freeing yourself at the Kaiser-Friedrich-Therme:
  1. It only costs €4.50 per hour and they give you this cool watch to wear that logs your time and opens your locker.  
  2. Book any massages a few days in advance.  The massage price usually includes one hour of spa time too.
  3. Bring your own towel.  They have towels to rent if you forget one. 
  4. Some people wore robes and shower shoes throughout the Therme. No shoes in the sauna's though.
  5. When you arrive tell the person at the front desk it's your first time at the Therme.  They will give you a map (in English) and direct your toward the locker room.  
  6. In the unisex locker room, find a changing room and wear your towel out.  Put your things in your locker (don't forget your number) and head toward the female or male showers to rinse off.  Then head out and choose what you want to experience first.  
  7. When in the sauna make sure to sit on your towel (because if not that would be gross).  If you move up a few levels make sure your feet are on the towel too.  Don't bring a book into the sauna because it's against the rules.  Learned that one from personal experience. For any of the pools, just hang your towel up on the hooks and channel your inner Adam or Eve.  Good Luck!!
I'm glad I completed this challenge on my thirtieth birthday because it was definitely an experience that I'll never forget.  


  1. Unisex???? OMG I WOULD DIE. They have bath houses like that here, but the sexes are separated. And that STILL intimidates me so GO YOU! And happy birthday, Michelle!!

    1. Hahaha, thanks Jenn! It was definitely an experience outside my comfort zone, but I'm happy I did it! I thought about your Asian massage experience and how you immersed in the culture within a month of living there.

  2. I don't know where I'll spend my 30th birthday, but I'm fairly certain it won't be naked with a bunch of strangers! ;) You're a stronger woman than I am! Maybe I'll come visit you for my thirtieth birthday. Don't leave Europe until I get there!

    1. Sarah! You're such a youngin' that I definitely won't be here when you turn 30. LOL! But I'll come back with you to celebrate! Thanks for the the bday wishes!

  3. I love the Kaiser-Friedrich Therme. I haven't been for ages but I can't wait to go again this autumn/winter. Although I have to say, I've only ever been on Ladies' Day! Hats (and everything else) off to you for going to the unisex one!

    1. If only my birthday had fallen on Ladies' Day! :) It was such a relaxing experience. You should definitely go more before you start working again!


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