After our trip to Amsterdam, the fun wasn’t quite done. L had planned a girls night the day after we got back to Hamburg. She had also invited her friend M to join us for an evening on the Reeperbahn. The Reeperbahn is a popular spot for nightlife in the city and also happens to be the city’s red-light district. Apparently, the girls intended to keep me up all night because M surprised us by booking a room at Superbude hostel/hotel so that we wouldn’t have to worry about driving.
Being the classy ladies we are, we packed some bottles of wine which loudly announced our arrival at the hotel. The guy checking us in asked if we were having a party to which we loudly exclaimed, “Yes!” “Well then, I have a surprise for you. I’ll get the box.” We exchanged glances, wondering what we just got ourselves into.
He came back with a box of controllers, video games, and CDs before leading us to our upgraded room — the Rockstar Suite!
I’ve never received an upgrade before, and this was a great one. We could have spent the entire night in. The room was prepared for a rock band and their groupies. It had a stage (the wooden planks could be mounted on the wall, revealing the SIX beds), a huge projector screen, an amazing sound system, a working electric guitar and amplifier, and game system. The box he referred to contained all the accessories to enjoy our amenities to the max.
Even though I couldn’t play a single note, I busted out the electric guitar while L sang lead for what was likely a totally on-key performance of Wilson Phillips’ hit Hold On.
After belting out a few more 90s ballads between glasses of wine, we decided to get ready in the bathroom with six individual lockers to store our stuff.
We probably didn’t need to go out since I was already having a hard time putting my eyeliner on straight, but it was “only 10:30,” and bars were open until… well, I don’t know what time they’re open until because I fell asleep in one around 4 a.m. Which is probably why I ended up looking like this the next day.
Obviously, we were in desperate need of a little TLC. Fortunately, we had a spa day planned at a nearby Turkish bath. I had never been to a Turkish bath (none of us had), but I assumed it was going to be similar to any other spa, but maybe a little more naked since we were in Europe after all.
When we arrived at Hamam Hafen Hamburg, we were instructed to take off everything except our swim bottoms and wrap a towel about the size of a dishcloth around us.
We were then led into a huge domed room and told to sit on ledges by these water wells built into the wall. We were then given bowls and told to wet ourselves from head to toe. My inner germaphobe was starting to get a little skeeved out because I saw no visible source of water to the wells, but I was intent to enjoy this new experience and ignore the fact it felt like we were bathing in street water.
After drenching ourselves, the next step in the process was to go lay on a huge, round, heated stone in the middle of the room to sweat and relax. We were the only ones in the bathhouse at the moment, but I knew that many other people layed on the same stone all the time. I imagined them to all be gross, old, hairy men. I wondered if, or how, they cleaned the stone.
“Just relax,” I told my sweaty self, laying on the the hairy man table.
Just as I began to forget about the hair likely floating around us, a huge drop of water fell from the ceiling right into my eye. Then a few minutes later, another drop of condensation from the steamy room dropped onto L. And then M. We started giggling because we were all trying to be adults and enjoy this experience, but the longer we layed there, the more hysterical the situation became. “How long are we supposed to lay here?” “Where is all this water coming from?” “How often do they clean the stone?” I also discovered that my butt is so voluminous that when I lay flat on my back, my lower back can’t touch the ground.
With all this obvious introspection, we were eventually laughing hysterically. Somehow being alone in this huge, opulent room made us feel even more ridiculous.
Suddenly our guide returned, unamused by our childlike giggling, and said something in German. L was apparently summoned to move to the other side of the room for her massage. There was a diving wall, M and I couldn’t see what was going on, but I heard more water.
Then a man came in and took M away for her massage.
Shit, I was the last one and had no idea what awaited me on the other side of that wall. After L was finished, the woman came back for me. She didn’t know English, so I tried to follow her gestures. Probably a little annoyed by my lack of German, she helped remove my towel and laid it in a ball on my shoes and motioned for me to lie down. Now, I was sweaty, wet and topless laying on a different slab of stone.
First, she used a giant scrubby thing to scrub me -back and front – top to bottom. I don’t think my boobs have ever been exfoliated before. Then she doused me with water before adding tons of bubbles. That was actually fun. While covered in bubbles, she also washed my hair.
At some point, she also began massaging me – the part I really came there for. I though to myself, “This is actually really nice. Stop being such an American prude.” It was a great deep massage unlike some masseuses back home… WHACK!!!! She smacked my back so hard I thought I was going to choke on my own tongue. Apparently, since I didn’t speak English, she didn’t bother giving me a warning that she was going to knock the life out of me.
After I began breathing again, she doused me with another bucket of water before I was instructed to sit up while she washed me again like a mother washes a kid – armpits, boobs and all. I would have preferred that part to be performed while I was laying down since I was still topless; but by this point, I was used to my lopsided tits hanging out for this strange woman to judge in another language.
When she was finally done, she gave me my wet towel back (what’s the point with it now?) and said something about me being “gross.” I cocked my head in confusion. She repeated something about me being gross. I was starting to get offended. I don’t know if there’s a translation for the slang version of “ghetto” in German, but I was about to demonstrate it for her.
That’s when she used her hands to reach up as high as she could, and it dawned on me that “gross” means “tall” in German. She was complimenting my height, not talking about my body. She has no idea how close she was to the wrong side of this ghetto bitch’s fist.
I can’t say that I’ll seek out a Turkish bath anytime soon, but it certainly was a bonding experience for us, and it definitely rid our bodies of any toxins from the night before.
If you want to see the experience for yourself, you can watch this video tour of the bathhouse. But instead of the reporter, just imagine 3 confused women, all alone, making childlike boob jokes.