Monday, January 04, 2016

The Almería Baths

The hammam, the Arab bath-house, is the perfect place to take your weary body - and there are a couple of them in the city of Almería. The best one is under a small hotel in the town hall square. It's called Aire de Almería. Here's their gallery.  The baths, in a high-roofed cavern, are quiet and the lights are dim. Music plays faintly. Incense wafts around healthily. I had gone with my companion to take the waters. We had remembered to bring our bathing costumes (mine is a minuscule red Speedo I've had at least thirty years) and enough money to get in upstairs (40€ each for ninety minutes splash plus a 15 minute massage). In the changing rooms, we put on slippers and an albornoz, a dressing gown. A hostess took us downstairs. I happen to be extremly shortsighted (I wear bottle-bottom contact lenses) and also, increasingly deaf. Downstairs, I could see nothing, and I could hear less. Over the distant mumble of the hostess I couldn't help but notice that there were a lot of sharp marble corners.
The attractions include a large warm bath (as in the photo, only a lot darker), a (very) hot bath, a freezing cold bath (yaraarrggh, I whispered as I fell in it), a large hydro-bubble bath, a saloon to sip complementary mint tea (if you can see the tea-pot) and a very hot sandalwood-smelling steam room. All perfect, and all confusingly empty - at least I thought it was, until I sometimes bumped into a fellow bather. Disculpe!  After a while a mysterious girl in black notices a coloured band on your wrist and takes you off for an aromatic massage. Very nice.
From time to time, it's good to have a treat, and a visit to the Arab baths hits the spot. And then, just outside, why, there's a bar to re-hydrate.
In all, I haven't felt so clean since shortly after that time my granny made me an ill-advised curry when I was seven.

1 comment:

alban said...

Positively hilarious...just what I needed on a beautifully clear, but increasingly chilly, Scottish evening.