Silver Swimmer Paradise: Wellness 60plus
I am driving West, almost 700 km one way on a hot summer Friday, in desperate need of a break, and eventually end up in silver swimmer paradise.
To be precise in Bad Bergzabern, a small and very romantic town, located on the German wine route and in the Palatinate forests. This well established cure town has a lot of French flair (as it is situated very near the border to France) and a long tradition as holiday destination. People come here to walk around various half-timbered houses from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, to enjoy the healing climate and waters, to revel in healing treatments and wellness offers, and to taste the culinary specialties of the region.
Ok, but how does this town differ from other ‘cure bath towns”? you may ask. Well, it is this extraordinary mix of ‘health and wellness’ paired with ‘savoir vivre’. Isn’t there a paradox? This renowned wine town offers some of the greatest wellness treatments. Which may give the term ‘mens sana in copore sano’ a whole different meaning…
Due to the stimulating climate, the town received official recognition as ‘cure town’ in 1958, shortly followed by the suffix “Bad” before the town name, which indicates the cure bath status.
The healing waters of ‘Petronella”
In the early 1970s, the natural water well ‘Petronella’ was revived, and a new thermal spa with therapy areas was built. The waters are know for their healing effects with a variety of diseases of the musculoskeletal system, such as rheumatism, deformation of joints, pains and muscular tensions, and more.
The water analysis reads:
My Spa visit
I arrive mid day on a hot and sunny Friday before a long weekend. The Thermal Spa is well sign posted, hence I find the parking lot easily. I have to pay (a small fee) for parking upfront, however learn later, that I am refunded 50% at the spa’s check in. Reminder: bring small Euro change.
Upon check in, I pay my rate upfront and receive an electronic wrist band, that also serves as locker key. The changing are is has the usual public spa look and feel, however feels pleasantly deserted.
The entire place is very quiet and I do not see any children around. Ok, this is definitely no water park, so not attractive to kids that want to play around. Instead, I observe many silver swimmers in their 60plus, gently swimming, enjoying the water features such as bubbles and jets, and chatting quietly.
As said before, it is a hot and sunny day, thus I proceed to the beautiful park like outside area and find myself a comfortable lounge chair. From there I explore further: the beach area with sand under my feet, the two different outdoor pools and one indoor pool (all with the healing natural thermal waters), the spa treatment area, the saunas.
The indoor pool is pretty large, and although not of square shape, you can do some nice lap swimming (just beware the warm water temperature). Six times a day, one of the therapists offers a 15 minute water fitness session in the indoor section, of which one I have joined in. The attendance of about 10 people mid day on a quiet Friday tells me that this offer is very poplar. The instructor is very nice, jokes with us, and takes us through a variety of functional exercises with pool noodles.
From the indoor pool I can immediately swim out into the smaller of the two outdoor pool. I sit in one of the underwater sitting bays and relax with the sun rays on my skin.
I start getting hungry. Yet am afraid I have to skip the cafeteria, as my time is limited and there is still so much to explore.
I pay a quick visit to the ‘beach’. It’s a small area in the garden with beach chairs and beach sand. I then hop into the larger outdoor pool.
The Wellness 60plus bathers enjoy the many pool features. There are underwater massage jets (my all time favourite!), air bubble beds, fountains and swan neck jets. Knowing my body is busy absorbing all the health promoting ingredients of the healing waters.
The well manicured park like garden with its old trees tells of a long history of wellness. I can choose between shady and hidden spots, sunny areas, sun beds, rocking chairs, and hammocks. Love it!
The nude area is located on the first floor. When bathers enter through the large door, they find themselves opposite a bar. Very typical layout for a German Sauna area. Sauna session are of course meant to enhance health and wellbeing, but at the same time are a social affair. Yet the bar has a second important purpose: bathers can replace valuable liquids, minerals and vitamins immediately after a sauna session. This way, you can spend all day between a sauna cubicle, the cold dip pool, a jacuzzi, and a sun terrace (yes, you can get a tan with no stripes!), without going hungry or thirsty.
Additionally to a medicinal therapy section with its own pool, there is a wellness spa treatment area on the ground floor, separate from the pool areas.
There is no receptionist available when I approach. This is not unusual for smaller day spas, where therapists usually perform reception duty in between their treatments. And so I see a sign that reads something like ‘sorry we are currently in treatments, please contact main check in reception for appointments’. I wander around and check out a small relaxation room that is a little to clinical for my taste. I am also able to stick my head in a variety of open treatment rooms which each serve a different purpose. There are
- rooms for massages
- rooms for beauty treatments only
- a Rasul
- a hot stone
- a soft pack lounge bed
- a room with a bath tub and more.
Unfortunately none of the activity offers are going on that day in the large activity room, that is totally suitable for yoga and meditation sessions. I suggest to check out their course plan from the website before your arrival.
As the day moves on, more bathers arrive. Yet the calm, almost elegant atmosphere does not seem to change at all. Which may be owed to the fact, that none of the medicinal therapies went on that day.
I found the Südpfalz Therme particularly cosy and tranquil. It is an upmarket bath with an almost elegant feel to it. As my time was very limited, I did not get to try any spa treatments unfortunately. Yet what I had a chance to experience was great. It is a paradise for Wellness 60plus, the silver swimmer community.