My pandemic birthday… part three

We both enjoyed a really good night’s sleep at the Vital Hotel. The mattresses are very comfortable. My only complaint about the beds were the linens, which could have been better quality. I didn’t use one of the bathrobes because I brought my own. Bill did, and noticed one of the sleeves had holes in it. However, those are minor complaints. Again, I was glad we brought our own pillows, because like a lot of hotels in Germany, the Vital Hotel’s are a bit small and stingy.

At breakfast, a waitress took our names and room number– again, contact tracing– as she led us to a table. Buffet breakfasts are a thing of the past. Now, they give you a piece of paper with everything available listed. You mark what you want and they bring it to you. Bill ordered scrambled eggs and bacon for himself, and I had smoked salmon with horseradish. We both had fruit salad, and bread comes out automatically. You can also have an assortment of cereals, yogurt, cold cuts, cheeses, and fried eggs.

I noticed at the table near us, there was a little blond boy with his parents. He spoke English and German, but probably wasn’t too much older than three. I was impressed. That kid is going to have quite an advantage over some of his peers.

After breakfast, we donned our masks, went back to the room, and changed into our bathing suits. Then we took the elevator nearest our room to the ground floor, where we used our watches at a turnstile and found ourselves looking at very impressive pools. Well… they are impressive, for sure, as hotel pools, especially by American standards. By German standards, I don’t think this particular Therme is as awesome as a few of the others I’ve been to. However, what I did like about it is that it was not at all crowded. The chairs were all marked with signs to enforce social distancing. We easily found a couple of lounges perched on a bridge that overlooked the main, dazzling pool with its fountain.

Naturally, I didn’t bring my phone to the spa, so I didn’t get any pictures of the Therme. However, you can easily find pictures on the Therme’s official Web site. We didn’t try the saunas, although I would imagine they are textile free, like most German saunas are. The steam rooms, snack bar, and massage rooms were also closed, although the Therme has a big gym that is in operation. We didn’t use the locker rooms because we had direct access from the hotel. We did notice that they limited the number of people allowed in there at a time.

We enjoyed the wave pool and the jacuzzi, although they didn’t seem to be turning on the jets as often as usual. I noticed the water wasn’t always as warm as I thought it would be. Again, I like the Mineraltherme in Böblingen a bit more, because not only does it have a nice sized bathing suit area, but there’s also an area where you can go textile free. But it was a pleasure to be at the Therme yesterday because it wasn’t crowded at all.

I did notice a baby pool that seemed popular, although little kids were in the big pools, too. And kids were jumping when they weren’t technically supposed to be, but that was no big deal. I’m sure they were happy to be swimming, burning off some of that pent up energy. One boy was throwing a ball in the wave pool, skipping it across the surface. Under normal circumstances, he would probably not be able to do that, because the pool would have been a lot fuller.

After a couple of hours, we decided to go have lunch. But first, I wanted to try one of the waterslides. I used to love slides when I was a kid. I happily exhausted myself at Water Country USA back when it first opened. One of my friends’ dads actually helped build that park in Virginia back in the mid 1980s. But as I got older, I lost my nerve. Bill doesn’t like slides or rides, so that made me less inclined to try them. I skipped the slide at the tree walk and the salt mines in Hallstatt, Austria. Both times, I regretted not taking the opportunity. So yesterday, I decided I was going to do it. It was perfect, since it wasn’t crowded.

I climbed the stairs, getting more nervous with each flight. At the top, I noticed the green slide wasn’t working. The water on the blue side was plentiful and strong. I looked at the graphics showing the best way to slide, took a minute to steady myself, and laid on my back. Next thing I knew, I was hurtling at full speed down the twisty, windy covered slide, part of which was blackened with more plastic. I kept going faster and faster, and I was suddenly very glad for precise German engineering when I finally hit the water below and it entered my sinuses. Bill said my eyes were like saucers and I know I had a huge grin on my face. Maybe I would have done it again if not for the steep climb. 😉

I will save my comments about our fabulous lunch for the next post. It deserves it’s own post, and I think I might need to pause for a nap. You can kind of see the slide in the featured photo. Germans do not play with their water slides. Every one I’ve seen has been very impressive and fun– and very safe!


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