I went to Europe’s biggest spa that’s gone viral on TikTok to try a Romanian sauna

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I’m sitting in a 90°C sauna. The heat is overwhelming. Around me, dozens of eager people are packed into every inch of the room. They are all, like me, waiting to see the show. The music starts and a man arrives, placing a ball of crushed ice onto hot coals. Then, he takes a towel and begins to twirl it around him, waving it in graceful arcs that thrust currents of red-hot air over the spectators.

This is my first experience of aufguss, a sauna ritual that blends dance, music, heat and essential oils. Aufguss is an essential part of sauna culture in many countries, and you’ll find variations of it across Europe. And where better to experience it for the first time than at the biggest spa on the Continent?

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