Still in Marrakech after Anna and I had the whole "hammam" experience that morning, we headed out to the medina again for lunch and more bargaining and shopping. Yes that is me with another snake (a python)
This morning one of my fellow Kumuka tour mates, Anna, and I headed out to the Hammam. The hammam, descended from the Roman bath, is the Moroccan version of a Turkish bath - very hot, lots of running water, but less steam - and is used by most Moroccans at least once a week. Hammams usually consist of three rooms. The first room is the least steamy and is for bathing. The second and third rooms are hotter and are for massaging and relaxing.
Our guide, Mustafa, escorted Anna and I to the hammam after breakfast. He stopped to talk to the woman at the front window/desk (who he seemed to know well) and explained what we wanted, the complete hammam experience which included the massage. We paid the fee and purchased our loofah mitts and gooey black soap.
She led us inside into a room where she asked us to take all our clothes off, except for our underwear. We put our clothes in a locker and she then gave us some rubber slippers and the key for our locker. I looked at the key and thought to myself I have no pockets where am I going to put this. She then took the key from me and put it in the plastic bag that was holding the loofah mitt. Duh, didn't I feel dumb. She and another woman then brought us these wraps (which kind of looked like aprons) which go around your torso. They wrapped them around us, why I don't know, since about five minutes later we were led into the first sauna room where we had to take them off and hang them up on hooks along with our towels. We went into the first room not knowing what to expect so we just looked at what everyone else was doing and just copied them.
View from another rooftop terrace restaurant ~ all the restaurants are setting up the tables and benches in the square
We were the only tourists there, everyone else were local women. They were pretty helpful and pretty much showed us what to do. We were all sitting on various benches in the sauna just washing ourselves with the gooey black soap. There were buckets there which you use to pour the water over you. The water was pretty warm. Anna and I thought we were done, but no. The two women who first attended to us came in and started washing our backs, etc. I felt like a little kid being bathed. They then took us into another room where we laid on these cushioned tables. There they proceeded to scrub us down with the loofah mitts. After a while I started to get sleepy. When she finished and I sat up, I looked at my skin and saw all the dead skin she scrubbed off. Pretty disgusting, I made a mental note to myself to loofah more often.
We then washed and rinsed off again. Afterwards, we were led into another room where we laid down for a bit on lounge chaises to relax and get warm while waiting our turn to get massaged. The massage was great. The room and oils smelled like peppermint and eucalyptus. It was soooo relaxing. After she massaged me on the heated massage table, she covered me with warm towels and I started to doze off. Afterwards, she led me back to the first room and pointed out the showers where I was to wash and rinse off. They brought us our clothes and we went back in the room with the lounge chaises where we got dressed.
Feeling refreshed, renewed, and relaxed we tipped them, left the hammam and took a cab back to our hotel to drop our towels off and then took a cab and headed out to Djemma el Fna for lunch and more shopping at the souks.
As the sun sets in Marrakech
I ended up buying another bag, this one in leather, a small dagger as a souvenir for my son (he's 24 so I think he'll be responsible with it and not hurt himself, I hope) and a couple of more knick knacks. We spent the whole afternoon to early evening there. After shopping, we had ice cream at one of the roof top terrace cafes overlooking the square and some freshly squeezed orange juice from one of the stalls in the square, which was the best I've ever had. I loved the time we spent in Marrakech
and being at Djemma el Fna was the best. It was amazing, all the people, the shops, the different stalls of food and spices, the performers, etc. It was magic.. just pure magic..