analytical Q May-Aug 2000Sept-Dec 2000ContactDiscussion

The Diary
Anne Ku

19 September 2000 Tuesday



My German friend and his mother initiated my first sauna ritual on a Danish island many years ago. It was odd to see mother and son, both stark naked, in the sauna.

Last night, in Frankfurt, I went into the hotel's health club, having completely forgotten the steps in the sauna ritual.

First, you must not wear your swim suit. In other words, you have to be completely naked inside the sauna area. I covered myself with a towel after my swim and entered into the dry sauna. There was a man lying flat on his back. I turned my head away.

After ten minutes or so, I got out and jumped into the shock pool. It was a bathtub deep enough to stand in - and cold enough to shock your system. An attendant motioned to me that I should have showered first. He told me that after the shock pool, I should sit in a special room to get fresh air for some time. Then he pointed to the instructions on the wall.

There was also a separate wet sauna - they call it the Finnish sauna. I was half expecting a steam room, but it was not that at all. Before going back into the dry sauna, you can wet your feet with warm water.

Don't let the rule-abiding and law-abiding Germans fool you. In the summer, if the weather is nice, they think nothing of stripping naked in the English Garden in Munich. During lunch time, the business men lie down next to all their business clothes, folded nicely in a stack.



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