Thursday, January 29, 2009

Adventures in Berlin: the Liquidrom

There are a few places in Germany I never got around to blogging about. I went to the ruins of Anhalter station on my own, and later with the Fat Tire bike tour, and both times I wondered what the heck this building was:

I asked our tour guide, and he said that among other things (offices and a movie theater), this futuristic building contained the Liquidrom, the coolest spa he'd ever been to. There were hot and cold baths, a bar, and a chamber where you could listen to music underwater. Kelly and I resolved to go there before she left, and it turned out to be one of the highlights of our trip. We went along with two Aussies we'd met in our travels, Hinn and Brie, and it was so much fun chatting with them while we kicked back in the outdoor pool.

Needless to say, I didn't take any photographs on the inside, but man, this place was amazing. Everything was modern and immaculate, and aside from a few Australian guys at the bar we were the only tourists there. The locals didn't seem at all disdainful of us, either—most people were just chilling (in the buff, or near to it) on beach chairs reading books or the newspaper (which seemed kind of strange to me, considering the entrance price, but I suppose they had seasonal membership).

You pay about €18 (plus €3 for towel rental, if you need one) for two hours, and I think it's a couple euros more for every half hour you spend thereafter. The whole place smelled wonderful—I can't recall which scent, it might have been eucalyptus, but it was really soothing. There was a courtyard with a wooden deck and a warm pool, the sound chamber our tour guide mentioned (it was fairly small, and being hogged by the same couple every time we tried to use it), a steam room so steamy you couldn't see your nose if you crossed your eyes, and freezing-cold pools you could hop into after the sauna (if you were feeling brave enough).

The sauna was the best part. It had three tiers of wooden benches, so if you sat at the top you'd practically burn your skin off. At the top of the hour the spa dude would come in and pour fragrant essential oil (sandalwood or whatnot) on the red-hot coals, then flap the heat around with a towel. He was very gracious, repeating the instructions for us in English, and making jokes as the air got hotter and hotter. It was the most intense heat I've ever experienced—I had to remove my gold necklace quickly to avoid burning myself—but I was determined to stay sitting on the top tier. The lovely man came up to me afterwards and told me he was impressed that I'd stayed put!

Later on we ordered smoothies at the bar, and the same guy who ran the sauna served us. You were given a key-fob at the beginning for your locker, and this also served as a credit card of sorts (so you could leave your wallet in the locker). I was so tickled at how futuristic this seemed!

So to anyone paying a visit to Berlin in the future (this means you, Kate and Elliot—you'll love it), be sure to spend an evening at the Liquidrom. Top it off with a good meal and you have the perfect last night of vacation.

(One more thing: the entrance is a bit tricky. When you come up the subway steps, you'll see the building to your left, and the entrance to the movie theater and a restaurant is on that side. Walk past that side of the building, make a right, and walk down the block until you see the door to the Liquidrom on your right.)

And with that, my Germany blogging has come to an end. Over the next few months I'll be doing research for the second edition of Moon Ireland, so there'll still be plenty of new photos to share!

1 comment:

Kate said...

So I am really trying to imagine this sauna. Is it sort of like bunk bed style with like a little latter to get to each level? And can't the people at the bottom see the willies and nether regions of the people at the top? Inquiring minds want to know!