Friday, August 10, 2012

the Standesamt and recovery day

More German wedding traditions...So on Friday morning we got up early and left the beautiful Burg (where some of the partiers were still sleeping), and drove to the town of Villingen, where the bride is from (and the groom nearby - they have known each other a long time and have been together eight years!), for the civil service. In Germany you have to have a civil marriage, and the church marriage is optional.For our friends, who were having a church wedding, going to the Rathaus (city hall) was just a formality, and they treated it informally.  Their witnesses ("best man" and "maid of honor") were there, and a few friends. We were lucky to be able to sit in on the little "ceremony." Usually I don't think there is much of an audience, if any besides the witnesses. It did surprise me a little that the parents didn't go. There was some civil servant who read a little thing about them, and they made short vows, and he pronounced them legally married. The whole thing took 20 minutes. Afterwards we had breakfast at a café in town and then headed to a spa-swimming pool in the Black Forest for a "recovery day" (as part of the five-day-festivities).

 Here are a few more pictures from the cute little town of Villingen:

 So then we went to this pool, called the Badeparadies Schwarzwald, or "Bathing Paradise Black Forest". It's a brand new pool complex, with three areas: a kids area with water slides, a "Palm Oasis" with some cocktail bars (no children allowed), and a "Wellness" Area with saunas. I have never really been to a spa before - and I think "spa" culture is really different in the US and Germany - but I really enjoyed it. There were areas where you could go outside and have this forest panorama and sunbathe, and the main pool also had an outdoor section with a bar. So fancy. I've never been in anything like this. Michael thought the whole palm tree "biodome" thing was pretty hilarious. It was really nice though. It was a little expensive (26 EUR/person for the day), but everything was super clean and it's only maybe 2 years old so everything was also very new feeling. And the saunas had staff doing "pour-ons" every half hour. I did two of them. They close the door, pour on various aromas and ice and get it really hot, then fan the hot air around the room. Germans sauna naked, and mixed naked (men and women together). Probably the most extreme, even for Europe. :) So that's a bit of a culture shock for us. It was really great though, and definitely nice (also for the bride and groom) that they planned this low-key, relaxing day into their wedding plans. It was a group of maybe 10-12 friends who came with to the pool/sauna. Afterwards we headed back to Villingen to be ready for the wedding the next morning. :)

1 comment: