“Whew, I need some air!” So I excused myself, sat down in front of the sink and proceeded to splash my face with water in an effort to cool down and catch my breath. But before I could settle too long, it was time for round two. Yes, already.
“Enlevez-ca.” ...Came the blunt instructions from behind me.
“Oh, uh okay…” So I followed orders and timidly removed my top, leaving me exposed in just my bottoms. (Apparently modesty is left at the door.) While I don’t want to reveal too much about my private life because I’m pretty sure that my dad reads my blog (Sorry, Dad!), I’ll just say that before Thursday afternoon, it had been a while since I’d been naked in front of someone, and we’ll leave it at that (but Dad, if you’re reading this, I’ve never been naked in front of anyone!).
“Wow, your boobs are huge!”
“Oh yeah.. Well, what can I say?! I’m blessed in that department.” I replied, blushing.
Okay, fine…. You’re right-- that part didn’t actually happen but it’s my story and a girl with an A Cup can dream, can’t she?!
Anyway, back to the real story:
Before I had a chance to become bashful, I was doused with a heaping bucket of water from the running sink. Then, again with the water, until it had looked like I had stepped out of the bath… because well, I did. My Thursday afternoon was spent at a traditional Turkish Hammam Bath where one frequents to relax and cleanse the body. It starts with a steam room/sauna, proceeds to a bathing room, and usually ends with a massage.
To rewind, I returned from my vacation in Barcelona to immediately embark on a Lyon “staycation” during the second week of Spring Break with my friend Ife and her two friends visiting from London. Hammam “Spa” was just one of the happenings planned on the itinerary. They had all been to a Hammam Bath before. I was the virgin.
While I was expecting the Burke-Williams-Newport-Beach-Spa-Experience, because that’s the only kind of spa I’ve been to, this was far from it. Instead of the tall and tanned OC masseurs giving you instructions for your massage in an overly soothing six inch voice, while leading you to a candle lit room playing soft ukulele music, I was ordered to strip down, and head to the aesthetically deficient steam room by an older woman who resembles your cushioned-body pragmatic grandmother in her mismatched bra and high-rise underwear that appeared as though it had been through sixty or so cycles of laundry. Like I said, modesty was nowhere in sight. And instead of a private low-lit bath with faint smells of lavender and rose oil, I was extinguished with bowls of running water in a large room outlined with sinks, stools and unflattering lighting… unflattering for myself and Grandma Hammam.
I agreed to the Soap-Noir option, the Homage addition, and before I knew it I was stripped down once again and lying flat on a quartz tile ledge as my new Turkish grandmother proceeded to scrub every inch of me with a coarse mitt, removing layers of dead skin that I didn’t realize was possible to house. Are you turned on yet? I thought so. After being instructed to rinse off, I was able to retire back to the sitting area to rest. A half-hour or so later, we leisurely made our way back to the changing area. With lack of time for the massage portion, we got dressed and made our way back downstairs to pay and depart.
Okay, okay.. So maybe I didn't make it sound all that appealing, but it was incredibly calming and we all left there agreeing to frequent a Hammam bath on a monthly basis. Though no spa can take the place of my beloved Burke Williams, my wallet and my baby-soft skin are thankful for Grandma Hammam.
- After Hammam, the four of us sat down to a home-cooked (and amazing, I might add) fish dinner with wine.
- The rest of the staycation was a blast as well, as it included cafe and crepes in Croix Roouse district of Lyon, going out at night, some great laughs and relaxation.
- London this weekend.
- My host family is home from their US vacation and I can say honestly that it's really great to have them home!
- New friends. New starts. New soup recipes (Thanks, Ife.)