An Oriental Moment

I had to let you know about the fabulous – and much needed – time I had yesterday. A lovely friend of mine had given me a gift token for a visit to the hamam as a birthday present. I had to wait a month to cash in my voucher as we are both busy girls but it was so worth the wait…

She picked me up at 10:00 and we first had brunch at my absolute favourite place (this was also part of my present, yes, I do realise how lucky I am with my friendships), catching up for a couple of hours and making sure we would not be getting hungry for quite a while.

Then off we went to the hamam. My friend had warned me not to be surprised by the surroundings and she was right to have done so as I was a bit puzzled when we got there. High rises not exactly in prime conditions, a maze of little roads and a few shops that did not look too busy, you would never imagine finding a place dedicated to relaxation there. Once we entered the hamam, though, I completely forgot about the not too sparkling area. We were warmly welcomed by one of the owners who showed us around and explained everything: the sweet café corner with its low seats and dimmed lights, the tent and its oriental mattresses to relax after the treatments, the changing area and massage rooms, and finally the hot room itself.

I was surprised by its size: a big heated central navel stone, four marble slabs for the peelings and massages, several basins adorning the walls and still plenty of space to move around. We quickly undressed and off we went to lie on the central stone. The weather was not so nice yesterday, grey and relatively cold, so this was pure heaven. We lay there for about half an hour, during which we got offered water, and then moved to the heated marble tables. We had chosen a body peeling followed by a foam massage. I had never had one of those before and now that I have I highly recommend it! As the foam gets applied on your body, you really feel as though a warm, fluffy little cloud smelling of lemongrass is engulfing you and already you feel any remaining stress vanishing. Add to this a wonderful massage and you start to float to your own personal happy place…

You are then soaked with warm water and the delicious foam melts away. The person taking care of you helps you stand up and you move next to one of the stone basins. Your hair is then washed with a minty shampoo followed by more rinsing with the aid of a large bowl, including at some point cold water, which oddly does not feel unpleasant.

The whole treatment had lasted another half an hour. We put our bathrobes on and went to lie down in the tent, where tea was brought to us. We were allowed to relax there for as long as we wanted before going back to the changing room to get dressed. The happy feeling lasted the whole day and we were both thrilled with our visit there. Next time, we will certainly try the oil massage too!

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