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Honestly, swimming and drinking beer in the nude is such a novelty that we can't help ourselves.
A giant billboard of a nude couple makes clear that we're about to enter a compulsory clothes-off zone.My wife may want to relax but I'm keen to dive headlong into my first spa experience.It's to Therme Erding's new indoor water park, a short walk through the children's thermal playground, that we head to first.We perch on bar stools, bottoms just below the high-water mark. It's microcosm of a Friday night boozer beamed across to the South Seas.We scorn such anthropological studies by indulging in our own parlour games.Indeed, Therme Erding's thermal source was only discovered by accident by the US petroleum giant Texaco in 1983.After years of geothermal research, the energy firm drilled for oil but found only a steaming lake of mineral-rich water.Couples piggyback through deeper waters like pairs of mating frogs. A century ago Germany's spa scene was strictly high society.Others steam outside in thermal rockpools, wallowing like blissed-out manatees. The likes of King Edward VII and Russian Tsar Nicholas II "took the waters" in ritzy retreats such as Bad Homburg and Marienbad.It's not the nudity that shocks visitors to Europe's largest thermal spa. On a wintry Friday evening on the outskirts of Munich, post-work pals aren't watching TV or heading out for drinks.Instead they're sitting at Therme Erding's pool bar wearing nothing but an electronic wrist tag, which tots up how many half pints of local Erdinger lager they've supped through the night. It's a classy Center Parcs – with frankfurters, but without the clothes.