A snazzy Spanish soak
Sevilla Travel Blog› entry 9 of 27 › view all entries
Today, we moved our carcasses and luggage to our next town -- Sevilla. In one of the guidebooks they commented that ¨Sevilla doesn´t have ambience, Sevilla is ambience!¨
More things are blooming here than in Madrid (it´s several hours south; we took the high speed train and made it in 2.5 hours). So, more color. More people strolling. Even more tourists!
We are staying in the old Jewish Quarter, tourism-central. There is no point in trying not to look like a tourist here. It´s like trying not to look like a tourist in the Air and Space Museum in July. What´s the point? Everyone is a tourist, everyone knows it.
(By the way, I was wrong about the dress code.
The streets of Barrio Santa Cruz (the neighborhood we´re in) are even tinier than the ones in Toledo. I couldn´t believe it. We took a cab from the train station and he could only get to within 2 blocks of our hotel. Many many of the streets are 2 people wide.
You don´t so much follow the map (which is making Jeff crazy) as head in the general direction you want to go and stumble on to your destination. Even if you don´t, you´ll certainly see something interesting.
Also, there are cafes....pretty much everywhere. You can´t go more than 2 blocks without seeing a collection of them. If you can´t find food here, you really need to stay home!
We got checked in, explored a bit, and went to a bona fide sit-down restaurant for lunch.
It was followed by another marathon siesta -- 2.5 hours. Am I a pro at this or what?
Afterwards, I asked the gentleman at the front desk if he could recommend a massage therapist. Jeff and I were both in need of some work. He handed me the brochure for an Arab bathhouse and suggested I check them out.
I wandered down to check them. The lobby was full of a gaggle of women looking very excited for their appointment. I went inside and asked about services. I ended up booking a ¨bath session¨for us for Wednesday night and a massage for Friday.
Oh, the bath session! We arrived at 8 pm. Got changed into our bathing suits along with everyone else who was signed up for the 90-minute session at 8 pm. Then we were led down to the main pool. It was a warm pool, huge high ceilings, red-painted walls, votive candles everywhere in addition to low light. You could lounge for as long as you wanted to. The pool walls were lined with blue tiles. The water was about waist deep.
But they encouraged you to check out the other pools too.
Next to us was a small ¨sea salt¨pool. About 8 people could sit in there. Also warm. Fine but not that much different.
Next to that was the cold pool. It was a small pool -- one person at a time because, believe me, no one is lounging in this pool! They recommended you try it for its invigorating qualities. The first time I got into it, I got two steps down and chickened out. They weren´t kidding about ¨cold¨. It was damned cold!
The only way to do it is to move faster than your brain can protest so the next time I walked straight on in and dunked myself before my brain could organize my feet to get me out of there.
Holy cow. But, you know, it was invigorating. Jeff did it a couple of times and said it got easier with each dunking. I suspect he´s not just pulling my leg. ;)
Then I went on to the ¨Pool of 1000 jets¨. Big ol jacuzzi in a circular room. Jets coming up out of the seats, jets coming out of the walls. It was nice. I relaxed in there for a little while (Jeff chose to stay in the warm pool). There´s really not too many experiences like a row of powerful jets of water right under your butt.
From there, I decided to try the steam room. Now, I´m not normally a big fan of steam rooms. But this was also the aromatherapy room. It was a room much like you would envision -- steps for people to lay or sit on (oh, yes, by the way you had to be wearing a bathing suit during all of this. No nudies.) The steam was automatically scented with something that was probably sage and refreshed every couple of minutes.
I needed to spend about 5 minutes convincing my lungs that (1) there was enough air in the room and (2) we were not drowning. Once I got past that, I really liked it. I even found it meditative.
Finally, downstairs to the hot pool. I think most people had forgotten there was another pool downstairs. There were only 2 people in it who were leaving as I got there. A long room with a barrel ceiling, lower than the big room upstairs. You felt like you were in a basement or grotto. The pool was noticeably warmer and I loved having it to myself! They tell you not to try to swim in the pools, but I did since I had it to myself.
Then back upstairs to Jeff just before they told us time was up.
Somewhere in the middle, we also got a 15-minute relaxing massage. Just a rub-down with warmed oil. Still, I managed to veg out pretty nicely.
We both felt fantastic afterwards. Jeff´s ankle felt better than it has in days. I was incredibly relaxed. They had a tea room where we spent about 15 minutes afterwards. Hydrotherapy (water therapy) is a valid part of massage therapy but it´s never this good! There is just some times that the soul craves a good soak in a comfortable tub.
Our tubs at home (all 3 of them!) are tiny and not soak-worthy. So this was a real treat. This kind of communal bathing experience is more from the Moorish tradition. We have virtually nothing like it in the US that I know of and that´s a pity. I would love to do this on a regular basis because it´s such a sweet (but not crazy wild expensive) indulgence.
We slept quite well that night.
Aire De Sevilla / Banos Arabes / Teteria
Calle Aire 15 - 41004 Sevilla