We went on a mini adventure in Amsterdam for Dante’s birthday in January. It was very pleasant to see how another city utilizes its transportation. So many museums! It was hard to fit everything in the five days we stayed in the city.
Dante’s favorite part of the trip was the science museums and the spa. The NEMO science museum is designed for children. However, the museum welcomes anyone of any age. It had four floors; chemistry, physics, humanity, and children’s play on the roof (for the warmer seasons obviously). The fourth floor contained a cafe as well. It is a nice area for adults to hang out, take a break while children play.
The humanity floor was the best because it is nothing like American children-focused museums. It was all-inclusive. Topics ranged from ethnicity to nationality, personal space to sexual attraction, and origin. We discussed how it was nice to have a museum expose children to these topics because not talking about our differences will lead to racist ideas and even worse, racist policies. It was a different mindset at the museum. A mindset of inclusivity and awareness. We went on to the next science attractions.
We also ventured to the ARTIS zoo and the ARTIS microbe museum. All was in reasonable walking distance and free with the I Amsterdam City Card. The I Amsterdam City Card allowed 24 hours to 120 hours of travel. We were able to take the city transportation system, GVB, with ease. The purchase of the card allowed us free entry into the zoo and science museums. It was easy to find the spa using the metro and streetcar.
Among the other events that occurred on our trip, we eventually went to the spa. Zuiver Spa Sport Hotel had the best packages for the best price. We were ecstatic to attend an authentic Dutch spa because we got to share the same space. In other spas, there may be separate areas for men and women. It’s hard to attend a spa with your significant other if they’re not allowed to share the same space as you.
Well, no problem here! Basically all we needed was towels, slippers, and a bathrobe to eat in the restaurant. We were able to sit next to each other in the different spa rooms. It is typical to cycle fifteen minutes of hot sauna temperatures, cool off and rinse off in a cold shower or bath, and repeat. It helps to open chakras. It is mentally and physically good for the body as it trains the body to stabilize under extreme conditions.
The main takeaway from the spa experience is the Dutch spiritual experience, löyly. The sauna master was very kind and made sure that the English speakers were aware of the process. He explained that he would throw water with aromatic oils on top of the sauna heater. As the scented steam rose from the heater, the sauna master “fluttered” the steam around the room using a tool that could be considered a towel. It created an aromatic blanket of steam that encases everyone in the room. It is a form of spiritual cleansing in a group setting.
For our first time, the room was very crowded but it felt like everyone had their respected space. It was a powerful bonding experience. Löyly is a part of Dutch culture that stood out to us as a wellness ritual. We were very happy to be a part of that experience and look forward to going back.