Sunday 10 August 2014

NOT JEALOUS OF A NAKED TOUCH.  Having fun in a Swiss spa, 1592

More from Fynes Moryson’s Itinerary Containing His Ten Yeeres Travell:

[In Baden, three miles from Zurich] diverse baths are contained under one roof of a fair house, and without the gate are two public baths for the poor.

These waters are so strong of brimstone, that the very smoke warms those that come near, and the waters burn those that touch them…One is so hot it will scald off the hair of a hog.

Many visitors have no disease but that of love, even if they fain sickness of body. They come hither for remedy, and many times find it. Women come hither as richly attired as if they came to a marriage, for men, women, monks, and nuns all sit together in the same water, parted with boards, but so that they mutually speak and touch, and it is a rule here to shun all sadness, neither is any jealousy admitted for a naked touch. 

The waters are so clear that a penny may be seen in the bottom, and because melancholy must be avoided, they recreate themselves with many sports while they sit in the water, namely at cards, and with casting up and catching little stones, to which purpose they have a little table swimming upon the water, upon which sometimes they do likewise eat.

These baths are very good for women who are barren. They are also good for a cold brain and a stomach charged with rhume [stomach flu], but are hurtful for hot and dry complexions.
The town of Baden makes great profit of the spa, by the great concourse of sickly person.

(Spelling modernized)

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