On my way to the spa, I happened past the Totally Swedish shop. I've heard about this place so it was kind of fun to wander in and take a look around. Fun to see some familiar foods and goods!
Just down the street was the entrance to the Crystal Palace. The place was modest from the outside and a regular hair salon upon entry. But downstairs opened into this hamam that was actually pretty great. Now, we've have these kinds of experiences in Turkey and Morocco so I was no stranger to the drill. And, after just touring Pompeii and seeing the fantastic facilities that the towns folks had for baths, I knew the first class benefits of the "bathing" experience were excellent.
My first stop was 15 minutes in the steam room. Now, as far as steam rooms go, this one was not my favorite. It was quite hot enough. But it was still nice. From there you entered the room where all of the scrubbing was to unfold! My "host" asked me to lie down on the hot marble stone that was in the center of the room. That is such a great feeling! She immediately began to douce me with bucket after bucket of hot water. From there, she scrubbed me down good then followed up with a big soapy wash. While I was all soaped up, she gave me a full body massage. I'm telling you, it's heaven! In between treatments, she continued to douce me with copious amounts of water. It felt like I was back in the womb! The final stage was a mud/clay/coffee mask that she applied to my entire body. Then she left me to percolate on the marble slab for 15 minutes. It smelled amazing.
When my time was up, I was ushered into a beautiful rain shower to wash off and then it was time to get back to reality. But once dressed, I was invited into the relaxation room for a lovely cup of peppermint tea.
We don't have these bathhouse or hamam experiences in the US so much. It's really too bad. Many cultures enjoy the merits and benefits of these wonderful experiences that are so good for the body. I have come to love getting super hot in a sauna or steam room, then cooling off with cold water, and then returning to the heat source. The experience of having waters flushed over you is so healing and renewing.
Thanks Doug for a great afternoon escape plan that was truly renewing.