Janet Christie's Mum's the Word - When in Berlin...

Sweating it out in the sauna
Mum's the Word. Pic: AdobeMum's the Word. Pic: Adobe
Mum's the Word. Pic: Adobe

Berlin in January, the pavements are icy, snowflakes flutter down onto the city streets and yet again Youngest is on a quest to find another bikini.

“We’ve been up the television tower,” she tells me in her ‘urgent update’ phone call, “we’ve seen The Wall, watched fireworks at The Brandenberg Gate, been to the Checkpoint Charlie museum, but it’s freezing so we decided we should chill out with a spa day. And I didn’t bring a bikini. Tragic.”

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“What’s tragic is the number of bikinis you must have,” I say.

“Yeah, I do have an unsavoury amount,” she says, “probably 12, maybe more. But to be fair, they are all different. Anyways, I’ll let you know what I get and you can borrow it.”

(Never going to happen.)

One Tommy Hilfiger bikini later she and her boyfriend arrive at the spa they’ve booked online, check in and head into the changing rooms, to be confronted by a sign that says “Swimwear Prohibited”.

“Mum, everyone was naked,” she tells me later on the phone. “It was so funny. In the sauna, steam room, multiple swimming pools, even the outside one with LEDs lighting up under the water in the darkness. But we were allowed robes and a wee towel so we just went for it. When in Germany…” she says, not entirely surprised by the turn of events, being half German and having grown up exposed to nude swimming on a regular basis.

Not so her boyfriend, who can be heard in the background exclaiming: “Weird. Just weird. I’m not used to that kind of thing. I’m just a guy from a village in Fife and there’s none of that. And the weirdest thing was the loungers were all set up facing the naked pool so everyone could watch you.”

“Not watch,” says Youngest, laughing. “No-one was looking. They don’t think anything of it. They’re just German.”

“It was set up like a WWE ring!” he says. “No way I was getting in there. I was very out of my depth.”

Or he would have been if he wasn’t glued to a lounger, swaddled in a robe.

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“But the massage was amazing,” he says. “Very professional and I was allowed my towel. So that made up for the traumatising experience. And the best bit is, you don’t need to waste money on swimwear.”

Has he met my daughter?

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