Business Travel

Seeking sauna solitude


I’m spoiled. I know this. We have a sauna, a gym and a pool in our apartment block. And while the gym is maddeningly over-subscribed (it’s one way to get to know your neighbours – up close and personal!) I usually have the sauna all to myself.

And we know how much I love a sauna.

I’m very infrequently joined by anyone else in the building. So I sit, alone with my thoughts and a bottle of water. Or sometimes a magazine. Or, sadly, a journal article. But mostly my thoughts. All alone.

Right now, I’m working in Birmingham. Or just outside Birmingham, to be more specific. I’m staying in a large hotel which has a gym, pool and sauna. Knowing this in advance, I packed appropriately and spent about 90mins down there late this afternoon.

After throwing myself at various pieces of gym equipment (I have an appointment with the beach in Sitges that I need to get ready for), I made my way down to the sauna. I was, unfortunately, not alone. I had the sauna to myself for mere moments before a middle-aged guy joined me and proceeded to make some of the most disgusting mouth and throat noises I’ve ever heard. He then fucked around with the egg-timer on the wall, resetting my timing (doesn’t matter, as I usually only leave once approaching the “Oh my god, I’m going to pass out” or “I think I can see the future” stage of heat stroke).

He gasped. He panted. He continued to clear his throat and nostrils. I managed five more minutes, tops. Which was a shame as the sauna was surprisingly hot. Hotel saunas are usually closer to a typical tube carriage in June. Hot, but only if you’re fully clothed. This one was eyeball-searingly hot. Just how I like them.

I moved across to the steam room, where I was joined by a couple of talkers, who also coughed like they were about to expire. I gave that give minutes and then went for a swim. The pool was pretty much empty and I swam up and down, furtively checking the water-proof claims of the new Apple Watch series 2.0 as I went. (It still works!).

After my swim, I headed back to the sauna and steam room, but both were occupied by chatty people and I quickly realised that I’m going to have to work hard to get used to sharing a sauna with other people again. 🙄 I cut my losses and headed for the showers.

Still, the time I spent on the cross-trainer in the gym beforehand helped tire me out and now I’m perusing the room service menu wondering how many calories my gym-time has bought me…

Filing this one firmly under ‘First World Problems’ and moving on.

4 comments on “Seeking sauna solitude

  1. Wow, that sounds amazing to have all that right there! 🙂


  2. I do so love your travel stories!

    I suggest you make them a large part of your podcast.

    Remember your podcast? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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