The Wellness Weekend

My friends did not listen to me when I requested "no presents" for my birthday. One in particular got a gang together and organized a wellness weekend at a spa about an hour outside of Berlin for me. And they reserved the weekend already, with WiseMan letting them know what weekend was not already scheduled.

I still had some work to get done Friday morning, so I didn't kick off until after lunch. Traffic was, as always for a Friday afternoon, miserable. The advantage was that the room was already available by the time I finally found the place.

They had already made appointments for me for my Anwendungen. Now, in the jargon of computing, these are programs that do specific things, like be word processors or parsers or bookkeeping systems. At the spa this means the treatments that are offered - usually involving lots of water and heat and some sort of goo.

So I unpacked, headed for the steam bath, and awaited the first application. It was the Cleopatra bath, a bath in goat's milk in a bronze tub. No, the tub wasn't full of goat's milk, it was just mixed into the water, along with all sorts of flowers and stuff. Probably smelled very good, except that I have lost my sense of smell.... There were candles set up next to mirrors, and some wellness music played from the CD player. The goat's milk was very fatty, but I smeared it on, must be good for you. The glass of cold champagne next to the tub was very good - I could get used to that.

After 20 minutes there is a knock to tell me to let out the water, and I climbed into a water bed with a canopy for recuperating from the bath. I had just nodded asleep when the lady came in to tell me that my 20 minutes relaxation were over, it was time to leave.

So it was off to dinner, the restaurant at the spa seemed to be very expensive and there are other places around. The Seebad, right along the water, was just perfect for sitting outside and sipping a cocktail while waiting for the food to get made. The salad was fine, but people around kept getting wrong food, the waitress seemed very confused. I made the mistake of ordering Mousse au Chocolat for dessert (I know, not healthy, but very desirable). It turned out to be a runny chocolate pudding, not real Mousse au Chocolat. It was soooo bad, I didn't even finish it.

The next morning started with breakfast at the hotel. If there is anything one could eat for breakfast anywhere in the world and it wasn't there, I don't know what it was. Maybe yak butter. They even had gumbears for the kiddos, pickled herring, salads, cheese, meats, all sorts of müsli and nuts and cereals, 10 kinds of jam and 4 kinds of honey, and a lady to fry your eggs exactly the way you wanted them with any fixings you wanted. I stuck to the healthful alternative first day, having fruit and veggies and cottage cheese and just a small roll with honey as dessert.

At 11 I was scheduled for a facial. The girl giving it to me was shocked when I described what I normally do in the morning: cold water, soap, towel, finished. She went through what a woman my age is supposed to do: hot towels, cleansing lotion, plucking of eyebrows, face pack, more hot towels, astringent, day cream. In between I got a neck massage, a face massage, and both hands massaged. Okay, even without the massages this takes over half an hour, I am not getting up half an hour earlier to do this. Maybe I can talk myself into slapping on some cold cream every morning. We will see.

I must admit, though, that my face did look rather good after all of this.

I took a brine bath in the outdoor pool, it looks just like a normal pool. There are signs warning you to take it easy, to get out after 15-20 minutes. I was enjoying it, but did get out and lay down - wow, was I ever exhausted! Took a bit to recuperate and then drive to town for some fruit and cheese. I had lunch in the hotel room with the window open, enjoying the air.

Late in the afternoon I had a combined application. First a peeling (gommage) that involved the masseuse rubbing Dead Sea Salt into my skin - all over. I felt rather like a roast, a feeling which was heightened after my shower, when I was put on a layer of cloths and oiled with a mixture of evening primrose oil and some other stuff I have forgotten. It was like butter and got smeared all over me, then I was wrapped tight in all of the cloths (the inner one was dipped in salt water) and then lowered into a waterbed with warm water that was awaiting me below and came up my sides, like I was now in a roasting pan. A candle was lit, the music turned up, and I basted for 20 minutes. After 5 minutes she called to see if I was still okay (apparently this is not for the faint of heart) and then let me have 15 more minutes of bliss. It was really nice!

I wiped off all the evening primrose goo, and my skin was silky soft - must be something to this mumbo-jumbo after all! I was too tired for any more sauna - this stuff really makes you tired! - so I just went for some Tapas in a restaurant I spied the day before. It was a rather strange place in the tourist information office that also housed the police and water board and whatnot. The tapas plate was mostly fried stuff, with one piece of lettuce. Not really healthy, so I returned to the hotel for more fruit and some prosecco.

Sunday morning was another great breakfast, I broke down and had an omlette with mushrooms, green pepper, and cheese as well as jam and honey. It's Sunday! After clearing the room one could purchase an additional daily ticket to the saunas for 5 Euros - that's a deal! So I had another brine bath and some sauna visits before deciding I was soooo tired, I had to go home!

It was a wonderful weekend - thanks to everyone who contributed! You will be getting a letter with the before-and-after-pictures in the mail soon :)

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