My First European Spa Experience.

By Posted in - Europe & Featured Post & Spain on October 1st, 2012

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Lying face down with my eyes closed status updates were running thru my head:

From the provocative: ‘Her hands. My breasts. ‘ To the more succinct: ‘I am wearing a white paper thong…and nothing else.’

When I arrived for my 6pm massage I was definitely not expecting this. Never before had I worn so little at a spa appointment. However, I have never been to a European spa before.

I have always known that Europeans are quite open with their bodies. Just yesterday I was on the beach surrounded by several topless women of varying sizes and let’s not forget my fully nude group showering experience in Iceland.

I’ll admit I’m a bit jealous of what seems to be their complete lack of body confidence issues. It must feel fantastic to feel so free in your own skin and not care what anyone thinks of your belly rolls, cellulite or mis-shapen boobs. I should probably clarify, it’s not just the women – the men are just as comfortable in their teeny tiny bikinis and miscellaneous body shapes.

But as my self-conscious naked (aside from said paper thong) self lied down for a body wrap I still couldn’t shake it. That nude-taboo American modesty had a strong hold in my psyche and it wasn’t about to be shaken by a single spa treatment.

Under no normal circumstances would I ever allow myself to be fully naked with only a small paper thong in front of a stranger. Heck, I wouldn’t even want to be clothed in a white paper thong while completely alone! Some things are just better left unseen.

Secretly, I was sooooo glad I had decided to do some yoga that morning – at least I made an attempt to tighten and tone some jiggly parts. Even though a 10 mile run might have been a better choice, it was still better than nothing. As the spa experience continued on, I actually found myself starting to relax – even in my tiny white paper throwaway panties.

I reckon this woman really has seen it all so what about me could be so shocking?

Slowly my tightened shoulders started to relax. I kept my eyes closed and tried to enjoy the experience. I tried to erase all the potential status updates from my mind. Little did I know that in about 45 seconds I would be asked to turn onto my back…little paper thong and all. Yup, full frontal contact and nudity (except for the thong) – my American self was completely mortified!

Although I have to admit that after all was said and done (which also included a shower and a bath) I was actually relaxed and my skin felt fantastic. Randy admitted that he felt the same way during his treatment (which by the way, included a black paper thong) and that by the end of it he was feeling pretty mellow.

Would I do it again?

Yes, for sure. In fact, if I could do one spa treatment every day I might be able to shed some of my American modesty and maybe even keep myself nicely motivated for a 10 mile/day running routine. But alas, my travel budget has it’s limitations, which includes the likes of bread & cheese and not much else. Sigh…

Have you ever had a foreign bathing or spa experience? Did it take you past your comfort level? What did you think of it?


Editor’s Note: The Hotel Terraza in Roses, Spain provided both of our spa treatments when they hosted us graciously at their hotel for a week. Their spa is really fantastic and if you aren’t quite as modest as I am then you will really enjoy it. In the fact the entire hotel is fabulous. We had a great time at Hotel Terraza and recommend it to anyone that is visiting the Costa Brava region of Spain.

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(3) awesome folk have had something to say...

  • Jess @UsedYorkCity -

    October 1, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    I went to a Japanese bathhouse outside of Tokyo last summer, and was shocked to find people hanging out in the baths/steam rooms/pools completely naked, no bathing suits alowed. We’re talking grandmothers, moms, and little daughters…all hanging out together in the nude. I was traveling with my sister at the time and we were definitely a little weirded out at first…then just kinda shrugged and said, “When in Tokyo.” Talk about a bonding experience:-)

  • Bethany ~ twoOregonians -

    October 3, 2012 at 4:44 am

    I love spas! I love massages and pedicures and long soaks and steam rooms. One of my favorite places ever is a little Swedish-inspired spa in Portland called Loyly…and I so enjoy visiting during women-only hours and feeling 100% happy in my own skin.

    I’ve had two awkward experiences, though, in just the past few weeks: Ted and I went for a massage at a little beachside hut in a small town on Zanzibar. The women offering the services were so sincere and kind and welcoming – but let’s just say draping practices were non-existent and the two of us received “treatment” on almost every square inch of our bodies. Then last week, we received in-room massages at a resort in Thailand, and though there were drapes, the ladies really didn’t know what they were doing and pushed and shoved and left bums entirely exposed to the light of day (while working on other parts of the body) for long stretches of time. On the flip-side, we’ve had a really wonderful treatments in the same cultures. Sometimes, it’s just luck of the draw 😉

  • Jason -

    November 2, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    This is just too funny. I feel for your self-consciousness, too. I would feel the same way. Heck, I do every time I go to an American spa!