Saturday, April 04, 2009

A Belgian Bathhouse - Heaven Meets Hamam

As I lay there on the warm, marble table, thick soap suds running down my spine, I mused about the likelihood that heaven was one giant hamam bath. At times I felt like a queen, yet there were also moments where I considered how wonderful it must be to be an infant.

...Until, that is, the scrubbing began...

"This is a salt-scrub", said the massage therapist, speaking softly. From my spot on the table I could see only her darkly tanned legs, partially exposed beneath a sari-like skirt. She was a young Belgian woman in her twenties of Indian descent, with dark silky hair and caramel-colored skin.

Age aside, she certainly could scrub. Cursing myself for caring enough to actually shave my stubbly legs, I wondered whether I had inadvertently ended up in CIA custody, and was enduring some sort of cruel interrogation techniques. Thankfully, once she reached my back, the scrubbing again felt good. I breathed deeply, a sigh of relief, and turned obediently to face the ceiling.

After showering off she covered me with a towel and opened the roof-top window, and while I dozed off to the pleasant melody of new-age music she prepared for the massage portion of the treatment. The massage was the soft, soothing sort... and was just what I needed. As much as I wanted to stay awake - to fully appreciate each stroke of my tired mommy muscles - I just couldn't, but I can honestly say that that was the most amazing nap of my life.

When the hamam was over I walked out of the room in my soft white bath robe, meeting up with Tobi before heading down to the restaurant. Should we dine at a table, or on a fireside recliners? Should we eat chicken, shrimp, or salmon salads? Decisions, decisions.

After dinner it was time to enjoy the pools and jacuzzis, opting to save the saunas for another visit. The kids were going on five hours with the babysitter, and as much as we would have loved to stay, it was time to return to The Netherlands, and the real world, leaving the Brasschaat Bathhouse behind.

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