This week is my birthday! Hooray for 29 years and counting! Even though I'm a grown up now (yep, it's official) I still look forward to my birthday every year. This one is particularly exciting for me because it's my first birthday as a mama. This being the case, my birthday present from the Professor was very well-timed and well thought out. For my birthday this year, the Professor bought me a session at Aire de Barcelona, an Arabic public bath house with a spa, various pools with waters set to different temperatures, a steam room and a massage parlor. I went for my session on Sunday afternoon and it was wonderful! I was a little nervous to go into a bathhouse all by myself since I had never been to one before, but the Professor insisted that I get some time all to myself while he watched the baby. So he dropped me off at the entrance with a towel and my bathing suit and walked off with the baby and a bottle of breast milk.
I checked in and hesitantly made my way into the locker room to shower and get into my bathing suit. You are given a private locker that seals with a code of your own choosing and you are provided with a towel and slippers which must be worn at all times even inside the pools. After changing, I made my way downstairs into the baths which are below ground. Calming Arabic music played on the speakers and the whole space was illuminated solely by candlelight. It was very peaceful and relaxing. I spent an hour and half floating around in the warm water pools, the hot water pool and the whirlpool bath. I ventured into the steam room for 30 seconds before I decided it was not for me (I'm a little claustrophobic and the steam was so thick I couldn't see anything!) and I also stuck a toe into the cold water bath (heck no!) before deciding that it was not for me either. Then, another nice and soft-spoken woman came and got me and took me to my massage where I spent a wonderful half hour getting rubbed and kneaded from scalp to toes. After my massage, I went back upstairs to the changing room, showered, blow dried my hair (they have products on hand for you to use like hair dryers, combs, shampoo, lotions, etc) and went out into the crisp fall air to meet the Professor and my sleeping baby. It was an amazing, restorative experience and should be obligatory for all new mothers, in my opinion.
If you'd like to see more pictures or find out more information, here is the Aire de Barcelona website: http://www.airedebarcelona.com/
(Photo: Aire de Barcelona)