Coming from England, I’d been apprehensive about going to a German sauna. The idea of being completely naked, surrounded by other sweaty naked people was just not my thing. I’d been to the Bayerischer Hof sauna a couple of times before, but there were no naked people there. Just tourists enjoying a bikini-clad sauna experience. So this whole naked thing was new to me. And yes, I suppose I was being a prude about it. We Brits aren’t used to stripping off and waving our bits around to all and sundry, but after hearing rave reviews about the Monte Mare sauna at Tegernsee, I decided to give it a try with a couple of friends on Saturday.
Friend A had been before, and was able to provide a full briefing on the BOB on the way there (we bought the Bayern Ticket, so the return trip was just 29 € for the three of us). The idea of a communal changing room felt a bit weird (actually odder than being starkers in front of others, I didn’t want an awkward ‘getting my knickers in a twist’ moment that would leave me hopping and stumbling around the changing room). But it was fine. The lay-out has been carefully thought out – there are different sections, so you can find a quiet corner and undress there.
And boy, I am so glad I went. It was the most relaxing day I had had in a long time. There are several different saunas at different temperatures, a whirlpool, a steam room (where you can rub salt into your body), a sulphur pool, a ship with a sauna inside, sun loungers and if you fancy it, you can take a tip in the Tegernsee lake itself after a sauna session, to cool off. I tried this and got up to my knees, before the 2°C temperature forced me out.
It helped that the weather on Saturday was gorgeous – which allowed for a spot of naked sunbathing. And the view was stunning – the mountains were still covered in snow, the lake was iced over and the ducks and moorhens were having a whale of a time skating across the ice. We also enjoyed an “Aufguss” – an infusion of peppermint and sage was poured over the hot coals, and a man with a flag wafted the scent around the room. Apparently very good for the airways.
Afterwards, we headed to the lakeside Bräustüberl for a spot of late lunch, and it felt almost like summer.
I’m a true sauna convert. It’s relaxing, fun and I felt super-clean afterwards. If you’re an expat who’s also been feeling a little apprehensive about going to a German sauna, I urge you to try it out. I loved it.