Just a thought....
Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

Sunday, 16 April 2006


Let me start by saying that if ever you want to really spoil yourself or you're needing to feel pampered or if you want to give the lady (or man) in your life the treat of a lifetime, book into L'Occitane. Thank you, Anne, for this very thoughtful gift. You knew how I would feel about it, didn't you?

The smiling and ever-helpful staff greeted me at the entrance. I filled in the forms, where I was asked my aroma preference and whether I liked firm or gentle massage, and was ushered upstairs. The room was softly candle-lit and delicately scented, hinting at the herbal oils they use. The couch was one I would dearly love to have taken home. I will post a photo. Unfortunately, my trusty camera couldn't accompany me through this experience, but I managed to capture this room. I sank into the chair and would have been content if that was the only experience of the day. I wasn't there long. Carini returned to take me to the dressing room where I changed into a bikini they supplied (good thing too, as I wouldn't own one in this lifetime) and robe. I locked my own clothes away and was ushered into bath paradise.

Here, my body was exfoliated with a heavenly smelling lotion containing walnut. My eyes kept straying to the bath, a free-standing, antique-looking bath, filled to the brim with steaming bubbles and a few lavender sprigs resting on top. I had asked for lavender as my aroma for the day. My whole body sighed as I sank into those bubbles. I lay there thinking of everything and nothing for 20 minutes. Heaven topped by a cup of peach tea.

Back out the bath, I was given a mud pack. Some greenish looking gloop... freaky! She then wrapped me in plastic and covered me with layers of thick fluffy towels. The experience was strange, but not unpleasant. The shower that followed more than made up for it. Lovely soaps, gels, shampoo and conditioner left me feeling fresh. The shower had an 8" head, which gushed water at just the right temperature, massaging me from head to toe.

I changed bikini's and was introduced to Nigrini, charming and professional, with hands that worked magic. He was the masseur. From my scalp down to my toes, every muscle was kneaded into total relaxation. Joints were stretched and limbs were flexed. I was then offered another cup of tea. I think I need to get some of that tea. It was by far the best peach tea I've tasted to date.

Ready for lunch, I change and went downstairs. I had a glass of merlot with duck and later, chocolate mousse, all of which had French names I can't, for the life of me, remember.

Back upstairs, I was greeted by Alessandra for my facial. As she ushered me in, she went on about how I must be feeling so relaxed and how I'm welcome to sleep any time. In the next 20 minutes or so, I found out about her, her children, where she lived and her job. She then wrapped my face up like a mummy with gauze, plastered some goo over it and left me to 'sleep'. A while later, she tiptoed back into the room to check on me, then left again. Returning later, she gave me a Portuguese version of "Rise and shine!" and was shocked that I never fell asleep. "But you said nothing when I came in earlier", she said. That is a bit like the dentist asking you if it hurts when your mouth is immobilised by anesthetic. My mouth couldn't have moved if it wanted to!

My last visit was with Dora, a tiny lady with long, strong and highly flexible fingers. She was my reflexologist. She did the reflexology differently to the way I know it. We concentrate on the individual pressure points, then the overall massage, but, here, the overall massage 'hides' or disguises the pressure on the points. I had my 4th cup of peach tea with her and she snuck in some of those yummy cheese straws. She also presented me with my gift from L'Occitane.... a beautiful tin with 12 guest soaps.

So my day at the spa came to an end. I fetched my stuff from the locker to find 10 missed calls on the cell and Jorge wanting to know 'where the heck are you??'. He'd apparently been waiting for me since 4pm and it was then 5pm. We knew it was 6 hours at the spa, but we hadn't accounted for the lunch hour, which was part of the whole deal. I was a little frustrated at having to rush out instead of being relaxed. Talk about an instant crash to earth. Jorge was frustrated because we still had to go home, fetch a bag, go to dinner and make it to the motel. Ah well.... these things happen...

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