FIFTY-THIRD MOVEMENT: GERMANY
“Ich bin ein Berliner.”
I woke up today at 07:30, showered, dressed, and packed my bags. I then checked out of the hostel and walked to the Amsterdam Central Railway Station. I then waited for the Berlin-bound train to arrive. Once it did, I climbed aboard and the train departed at 09:01. We made our east to the German capital and I spent my time looking out the window at the countryside and reading.
The train journey lasted a little over six hours and I reached Berlin Main Station (Deutsch: “Berlin Hauptbahnhof”) around 15:15. I then walked through the station until I reached the S-Bahn platform. I bought an S-Bahn ticket and then journeyed to the Oranienburger Strasse S-Bahn Station. Once out on the streets, I then found my way to the hostel I had reserved a bed with. I checked in to the hostel, put my bags away, set my stuff up, and then headed outside. I decided to experience one of the best spas in Berlin today since it was too late for most museums and historical sites, and since I was still fighting congestion in my throat, which steam rooms can do wonders for. So, I walked back to the Oranienburger Strasse S-Bahn Station and rode the train back to the Berlin Hauptbahnhof Station. From there, I walked northwestward to Vabali Spa. Upon reaching the spa, I checked in, received my wristband, towels, and robe, and undressed. I then proceeded to try the different saunas, steam rooms, and pools, moving between each one. It is a great feeling to move between one hot environment and in to a cold bath before going in to another hot environment. This treatment really wakes you up and revitalizes your body. Later on I had a smoothie and lots of cold water to help keep me hydrated. I would’ve liked to have just laid outside in the sun, but it was cloudy and rained most of the time while I was at the spa (lousy weather). Also, I got to experience an Aufguss for the first time, which is when everyone crowds in to the sauna and a man (or woman) pours scented water on to the hot rocks and then uses fans to spread the hot air around the sauna, being sure to hit everyone with the heat. I survived most of the Aufguss, but left just before it finished since the heat and my lack of water was getting to me (it was really, really hot air). I then continued to move between saunas, steam rooms, and cold showers, and occasionally I would walk around outside or swim in the pool. I then wrapped up my visit at 23:30. I showered, dressed, and then returned my towels, robe, and wristband before exiting the spa. I must state, I love the whole sauna culture and it really does invigorate your body and spirit, making you feel like a million dollars. Also, after having visited several saunas like this in my lifetime, as well as that beach in Croatia, I am beginning to really enjoy the whole textile-free culture as well. Who needs clothes when you’re not participating in a formal activity or when you don’t need protection from the elements? It just feels much more natural and comfortable to go clothes free. Anyway, I returned to the Berlin Hauptbahnhof Station and rode the S-Bahn train back to the Oranienburger Strasse Station. As I exited the station, a good looking prostitute working that street corner (I would see her the following days as well) asked me if I wanted to have some fun before returning to my hostel; I politely declined her offer and continued back to the hostel. It was too late to eat anywhere (at least from what I knew, this being my first day in Berlin), so I simply had a few beers as the hostel bar for dinner instead. Eventually, I returned to the dorm room and around 02:00 I went to sleep.