One mama reflects on her decision to try out the Dutch Spa phenomenon. Read on to find out how it went and remember, what happens in a Dutch Spa, stays in a Dutch spa.... I do not tell lies, I promise you. This episode will give you a glimpse into what a lot of my friends call 'Heather's World'. I was single. I know, 'madness!', I hear you cry in disbelief! Me, with my freakishly small earlobes, smooth elbows and hair like a healthy red setter dog. Yes, there was a time when I was on my own. I was also in a job where I was bored to death and needed some serious 'me' time. I decided to get out of the city and have a break at Thermae 2000 in Valkenburg. I looked it up on the web, bought a day entry and the cheapest, but longest duration, beauty treatment I could find. I had no idea what it was: this was before I knew about how to translate a web page. Anyway, I was a sophisticated young single gal, what could go wrong?
When I first came to this lovely country, I was mortified at the thought of taking my clothes off in front of anyone other than my husband to be, George Clooney, or a Marks and Spencer bra fitter. But I was curious and nosey, so I dragged my partner in crime, Kay, to a local spa and, 'hey presto', I began to take my clothes off anywhere, any time and in front of anybody. A note to all who drink with me socially in the future, do not let me have any more than six glasses of wine or you will see parts of me you would not wish to see. And so there I was, off on an adventure to a different part of the country to legally bounce my beautiful, saggy boobs in public. How exotic and windswept was I?!
I arrived at Thermae 2000 soon after dropping my bag off at the local bed and breakfast where I was staying. My heart sank when I walked in. There was a sign saying, 'left for the naked section, right for the clothed section'. Bugger, I hadn't brought a swimming costume with me. So I had to buy a swimsuit for an enormous amount in the spa shop. Ho hum. I got changed, and walked proudly into the naked part of the spa... I took off my horrifically overpriced, russian shot putters bathing suit and start to shower myself in the open showers. To be quite honest it was all a bit of an anticlimax. There was only me and an elderly gentleman in the whole place. He was standing under the shower on the opposite side of the spa. I was hoping there would be at least a few other people to witness my entry into grown up public exhibitionism. Maybe a small, appreciative round of applause? I took a handful of the scrub and was rubbing it over my shoulders when I heard a loud groan and a heavy splat. I turned to find the elderly man on the other side of the spa, face down on the floor. Jesus. I ran over and attempted to turn him over. The floor was wet, my feet keep slipping and I couldn't move him. So I stood astride him, bent over and managed to push him over. My feet were now either side of his shoulders. He had a deep cut above his eye and he was semi-conscious, moaning with his eyes closed. Luckily, a lady entered the spa at that point. Now, I am no model. My breasts are down to my ankles and I have always had to lift my tummy up to see my vagina. So what this woman thought as she saw this weeble-wobble woman from behind, crouching over this elderly man's face I will never know. But by her high pitched, blood curdling scream I got a fair idea.
Confession time: I will have lived in this amazing country for twelve years this summer, and I can only just about order a white wine in Dutch. My language skills are appalling. But I can say enough to be understood in a crisis. So what what I wanted to say was, get help, in Dutch. But, bizarrely the only words that came into my mind were 'la station est sur la droite' which is the only French I learnt at school when I was twelve years old. What bloody use was that?!! Hence the poor woman ran out still screaming. I slapped the man round the face trying to revive him. The guy opened his eyes to find a naked woman straddling him, shouting odd French tourist phrases at him. At the same time, the hysterical lady re-entered the room with two gorgeous strapping pool attendants. Unfortunately they walked into the spa from behind me. So the first time I saw them was with my head hanging from in-between my naked legs. The poor chaps are still probably in therapy. I stepped aside and they administered first aid to the bewildered man and I sloped off and tried to regain my composure.
At 2 pm I headed off to the beauty treatment rooms, thinking that this would be my chance to chill out. I sat in the waiting area till I was called into a dimly lit small room by what looked like a twelve year old girl wearing a white coat. The room was very green, with lots of plants and small trees dotted around. I was quite surprised to find another girl in the room, but hey, these children were professionals and knew what they were doing. I'm asked to take my robe off. No problem, another chance to get naked again. But, normally if you have a facial or massage you are only partially exposed right? I glanced around and did not find a chair or a bed in the room.. Hmmmm. Then, to my horror, both girls grabbed a tree branch and beat me about the body. I was so shocked I just stood there. I'm dumb struck. What made it even worse, is that neither girl is making a sound. I was standing in a dark room, being beaten about my naked body by two teenage girls. I want to say something but I'm so surprised, I just could not find the words. After what felt like an age, they stopped, handed me my robe and I left. None of us said anything. I went straight to the changing room, got dressed and left. On the way back to my hotel I picked up a bottle of wine. I sat in my room and finished it in about twenty minutes. I vowed next time I went to a Dutch spa, I would make sure I had someone with me. I needed a witness. And I very quickly learned how to use Google Translate...