Thursday, 23 August 2012

Tea on tap

After several days of staggeringly hot weather, it's a very reasonable 32°C in Madrid today.  Still, I've just had my third cold shower and it's only early afternoon.

This morning I went to the local baños árabes, or hammam — which the Spanish insist on pronouncing hamman — to take advantage of their summer special deal: bath + 15-minute massage for the price of a bath only.

The thermal bath house — called Hammam Al Ándalus — is built over an ancient Moorish construction.  It has three baths — cold, warm and hot water — and a Turkish-style steam room.  The idea is to do a circuit of warm-hot-cold-steam-cold as many times as you like for about an hour.  It really is a relaxing experience.

There are brass taps in various corners with fresh drinking water, and even one with warm mint tea!

The massage after the bath was pleasant, though not quite as vigorous as I would have liked.  You get to choose from four scented oils, each with supposed particular benefits for body and soul.  I chose violet to "heal the tired body and ease the stress..." or something like that.  Actually I just liked the smell.

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