To celebrate her milestone birthday on February 11th, a friend had invited me and two others to a pleasure experience in Wellness Leiden. We had been told to bring slippers and a towel. I have no experience with wellness centers, and I thought to myself, should I bring a swimsuit? For safety’s sake, I checked the website which stated that swimsuits were not allowed, except on special days. Well, I thought, that’s probably just me being modest, and presumably, men and women would have separate facilities.
We arrived, were given keys to the lockers and went inside to change. My three friends were, apparently, just as inexperienced with Dutch wellness centers as I was. Two of them had brought swimwear, and we all turned paler than we already were, when we found out that men and women used facilities together, naked. However, we had been provided with bathrobes, which we carefully wrapped ourselves in. Our strategy was to go into empty rooms/facilities, and hopefully, scare any male guests away. Since it was a Tuesday morning, there were very few guests, and of these a max of 10 pct. male, so our strategy worked to some extent. Gradually, we became more relaxed and giggled at the whole thing. None of us, however, had the courage to jump into the big pool, where several couples were hanging out. One time, we shared a steam sauna with a few men, and luckily, the steam lay as a camouflage veil over love handles and lower body parts.
Call me prude
I know it’s a bit silly, but to me it felt unnecessary and slightly transgressive to walk around bare butt naked with others’ ditto in sight. Some people may feel more comfortable without clothes, but I am, apparently, so far away from my primitive instincts that I find it distracting to be part of a “bare butt community” for men and women.
Nice facilities and views over Leiden
Apart from nudity, Wellness Leiden was a delightful experience. There are various saunas, relaxation areas, massage rooms, and pools. We tried a cold-hot pool, where a staircase led down into a cold pool and back up, then straight down again into a hot pool and back up: After two “rounds”, I felt a tingling in my arms and legs and my blood flowing faster. We also had a half hour back and neck massage, which took place in more private cabins. Finally, we went upstairs to the in-house restaurant, where we sat in our bathrobes and enjoyed a smoothie as well as the view of Leiden through the 12th floor panoramic windows.
All in all, we had a fun morning, and we had an aha! moment that will hardly make any of us become nudists, but it didn’t hurt after all, quite the contrary!