For my first weekend and second full day in Salzburg, I decided on the obvious choice not to discover the city, but to head back into Germany for a spa day at Rupertus Therme in Bad Reichenhall.
As there were seven of us, me included, we were able to get a one-way group ticket for 22 Euro to Bad Reichenhall (about a 30-minute train ride). We had to switch trains in Freilassing (the city right across the border in Germany), but made it to Bad Reichenhall pretty easily overall. It was finding the spa that became troublesome.
As one of the main attractions, there were signs on each corner pointing to where the spa was. For non-locals unaware of forest trails, these signs seemed contradictory. In addition, because we left in the afternoon, the tourist information center and all of the shops were closed. We ended up having to ask a few people, getting closer to our destination each time.
Once we found the spa, the fun began. We were given a small discount when buying tickets (we still aren’t sure exactly why) and received wristbands designating us as four-hour guests. We then moved onto the lockers where we changed into our suits, showered, and then entered the main complex.
There were three main floors; we began on the second which featured two indoor pools at around room temperature. Also on this floor was a heated outdoor pool that provided beautiful views of the surrounding snowy mountains. I spent a good 30 minutes floating in the whirlpool section of this outdoor pool, watching the lights make the fog and sky different colours. It was only when the fountains were turned on pelting cold water on us all that we decided to move onto the next room.
On the third floor was a true hot tub, perfect for warming us up after the cold outside.
The most fascinating for me, however, was the bottom floor which focused on salt. With a few of my friends, we began in the back of the series of rooms: the salt grotto. Here you could sit on heated tile seats, breathe in the moist air, and watch the drip drip of water as it trailed down a salt wall. After almost falling asleep, we decided to move onto the salt pool, something I had never before experienced. It was so peaceful to simply rest your head back and feel your body float in the water with no work at all from you.
After three-and-a-half hours or so, we were all getting hungry and so regrouped to eat at the spa’s restaurant. It was an interesting mix of casual (swimsuits were expected) and formal (the decor resembled that of a high-class hotel). I got a vegetable stir fry with salmon and greatly enjoyed my meal, though not everyone was so lucky. Due to a miscommunication (the menus were only in German), someone ended up getting a bone-filled piece of salmon rather than the beef steak they were expecting.
By the time we finished, our four hours were up and we needed to catch the train back to Salzburg. We showered, changed, and tried our best to dry our hair to keep it from freezing before running to the train station. We spent about five minutes trying to figure out tickets before the train came and ended up buying another cheap group combination ticket and split a taxi to get back to the student dorm.
I now see why people enjoy spas; I have not felt that relaxed for a long time. I might just have to go again after finals…