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I Survived A Nude Swiss Spa!

When In Europe, Drop The Towel


Couple in hot water tub, outside
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Swiss spas (like most European spas) are quite different from American spas. For one they have a much higher tolerance for nudity at the spa.

I discovered this while visiting friends in Switzerland. They thought I would enjoy a few hours at the famous Engadin Bad Scuol, a destination wellness and therapy center known for its Irish-Roman baths. People have been making pilgrimages to this Swiss spa town since the mid-1300’s, and today five of the town’s fountains continue to dispense the much-desired mineral water.

Since my friends had their family dog with them, they weren’t able to take to the waters. So they checked me in at the reception area where I forked over my Swiss francs for a massage, along with a hefty deposit for a towel. I was led downstairs by a spa attendant, deposited at an unmarked door and instructed to remove my shoes.

Me & My Rented Peach Towel

The facility was impressive: spacious, clean and state of the art. And it was packed with people of all ages and sizes. The spa attendant took me into a large changing area, where she pointed to one of dozens of dressing rooms. I quickly spied an empty one, disrobed and exited wearing my rented peach colored towel.

Not knowing where to stash my clothes (the signs were in German and Italian), I flagged down an officious looking woman. She noticed the pile of clothes in my arms and the confusion on my face and led me to a locker, where she stowed my clothes, strapped the key around my wrist and slammed the door. But where do I go? In pathetic German, I asked,“Wo ist die masseuse?” She pointed around the corner and replied “Spa!” Ah.

Walking through the shower area to the spa, I quickly noticed that Engadin Bad Scuol was distinctly co-ed – and that people were walking around in the nude. I was severely overdressed in my peach terry towel. Making my way through the naked city, I peeked at men and women lingering languidly in the vapor baths and bubbling pools.

Folks in various stages of undress popped into saunas while others got stoked on mineral water. At a juice bar I again asked, “Wo ist die masseuse?” and was directed around the corner to a small room, brightly lit, with no music or candles. There I was greeted and treated by a young Swiss woman who gave me a most delicious massage.

Yes, I finally took my towel off.

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