Scratching the Itch

Un­ser Au­tor Ross kommt aus dem ver­reg­ne­ten Nor­den Eng­lands. Letz­ten Herbst ver­liebte er sich in eine Re­gens­bur­ger Erasmus-Studentin. Nach zwei Se­mes­tern war ihr Aus­lands­auf­ent­halt vor­bei. Sie ging zu­rück nach Re­gens­burg – und er kam mit. Doch die Stadt und ihre Ein­woh­ner be­sche­ren dem Zu­a­groastn seit­dem den ein oder an­de­ren “what the fuck?!”-Moment. In sei­ner wö­chent­li­chen Ko­lumne „Ra­tis­bo­nisms” er­zählt Ross mit sei­nem dry english wit von Re­gens­burgs Eigenheiten.

 

An increased work load and the onslaught of great Ratisbonian cloud has meant that recently I haven’t had any chance to climb. Climbing outside on rock is integral for me to function normally. Being in nature, often without any people or phones or laptops or stress, is where I’m comfy. Sitting below a piece of overhanging rock on a chilly autumn afternoon, surrounded by trees that bask in their own rich tones of amber and gold, I am in my personal nirvana.

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This slice of paradise has been out of my grasp for the past few weeks and it has a profound effect on me. I’m grumpy and tense and generally not a nice person to be around. I know this myself and I make strides to avoid it but the true persona inevitably breaches the facade. Chatting to a few friends who were in the same boat, one said that recently he’d been to a spa. A spa?! I thought a trip to the spa only attracted old women who had nothing else to do, pre-wedding parties and wifes who had been cheated on by their husbands. The thought of lazing around in a hot tub didn’t seem to be a like-for-like replacement to climbing steep rock in beautiful nature but he seemed refreshed and full of beans so to my girlfriend’s delight, I suggested a spa day.

I’d never been to a spa in England but the closest I got was the sauna and ‘Turkish’ steam room in my local swimming pool. This place was usually occupied by towel-clad, ancient-looking people who appeared to have been sitting in the sauna for a month; wrinkled skin hanging loosely over a hunched and shrunken skeleton.  I’d go in, sit for twenty minutes and hear all about Lewis learning to play the clarinet, Emily getting her first horse or how that manager would be the death of that team. I left exhausted.

The German equivalent is a little different. With the prospect of over ten different types of sauna and heated outdoor pools I was sold! There was one thing I didn’t prepare myself for… full nudity! No swimming clothes or even a towel, full nakedness; old, young, skinny, not so skinny, everyone. After a couple of tentative moments sitting in the corner with my eyes closed and legs crossed, I abandoned my uptight reservations and embraced the freedom, letting it all hang loose! Some hours later we left and I was a new man. I can’t put my finger on exactly what happened at the spa that sorted out my psyche. Sitting in 100 degree heat then throwing a bucket of iced water over my body isn’t going to replace my constant inner pull to rocky outcrops in the middle of nowhere but its a perfect supplement.

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