The Writing Life · Travel

Spa Day

Today started cold and rainy. I grabbed an umbrella and headed to my appointment at the Royal Savoy Hotel for a massage. The hotel was only two metro stops away, so there was no danger of any mix-ups like yesterday.

Across the street from The Royal Savoy Hotel was a cute little church that looked more picturesque than the cathedral I visited the day before. It was raining pretty hard, so I decided I’d take a picture after my massage.

As I walked through the hotel to the spa, I noticed that the rain had changed to a snowy mix. It was a great day to stay inside.

The spa was on the lower level of the hotel. It had an inside pool and an outdoor jacuzzi. The spa receptionist informed me that the jacuzzi was 32 degrees Celsius, which is about 90 degrees Fahrenheit. It looked so inviting as the snowy mix showered down, and the steam from the pool floated upward. I wished I had brought my swimsuit.

After getting changed in my robe and slippers, I waited in the relaxation room to meet my massage therapist. I worried there would be a language issue, but she spoke English.

Melania escorted me to the treatment room a few doors down. The room was so large it could have easily fit another massage table. It also had a water closet, sink, and shower, which was convenient. I always realize I have to go just as I’m getting on the table.

When Melania entered the room, she took off her shoes at the door. She performed the entire massage barefoot. I couldn’t help but wonder why. I thought about it way longer than I care to admit. I finally decided that it was her way of honoring the space.

On the questionnaire I filled out before the massage, it listed the stomach as one of the places the therapist can concentrate on or avoid. I thought it was an odd question. Well, when I turned over, Melania placed a folded towel on top of the blanket. Then she slid the blanket down and exposed my stomach. It was kind of weird, but I was curious about this stomach massage. Melana moved clockwise around my stomach. I wondered if that was the direction of our colon. After several rotations, she moved from right to left. I kept telling myself to enjoy the process instead of trying to figure out the reason for her methods.

The truth is, I spent most of the massage thinking about the process, which I know is besides the point. I didn’t allow myself just to let go. I’m not quite sure why that is. Perhaps it was the newness of the experience with that massage therapist. Going to a spa isn’t like seeing your regular therapist who knows your body. There is probably an element of familiarity and trust needed to let go entirely.

Don’t get me wrong; the massage was incredible. I felt like silly putty afterward. I couldn’t do much for the next half hour but rest in the relaxation zone. I thought about getting in the hot tub in the lady’s locker room, but I felt bad getting in with no clothes on when the woman who was already in had on a suit. For a split second, I considered buying a swimsuit, but I have an entire drawer of swimsuits at home.

It was 2:30 PM, and I feared I had once again missed the opportunity to eat lunch. Fortunately, the hotel bar served food all day. I had butternut squash soup served with a delightful cream on the side. For the next hour and a half, I sat at a small table in the bar, reading my kindle and enjoying my lunch with a glass of Prosecco. I was so engrossed in my book that I finished it. It seems that reading a good book while eating great food is just as relaxing as the hot tub.

When I left the hotel, it was still raining. I took a picture of the little church anyway. I decided to walk back to my hotel. Despite the rain, I enjoyed being outside.

Michael and I went to the Italian restaurant in our hotel for dinner. The Amatriciana was worth the price I paid later for eating the gluten.

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