Sometimes you don’t quite know what you’re getting yourself into. After visiting a herbalist in Marrakesh he suggested we (I was travelling with a friend) visit the Hammam Mouassine. I jump at the opportunity as I love skin care – I have dry skin so I’m always looking for the perfect healing remedy.
After some twists and turns though the little alleyways we arrived at the Hammam Mouassine – it was built between 1562 and1563 by the order of sultan Abdullah Al Ghalib. I hadn’t been to a Hammam before so I didn’t know what to expect, but it’s not grand inside, it’s nothing fancy but it was simple and clean. I paid for a scrub and massage, I was then given a basket for my clothes. The women didn’t speak English but motioned for me to strip down and put all my clothes in the basket. Left standing naked in what started to look like a vacant tiled room suddenly, didn’t feel so welcoming. Another women, dressed only in black underwear took me further into the room, she threw down a thin foam mat and splashed water on it from her bucket, and then indicated for me to lay down on the mat. It tested my comfort level and I felt vulnerable. She then started to scrub me with black soap until my skin felt raw and layers were pealed off me. Occasionally I could glance sideways and see my friend, knowing she was there too, was incredibly comforting. I was not in this alone. I reminded myself that women have been coming to this hammam for over 400 years and I started to relax and accept what was happening – that every crevasse of my body was being scrub. She then washed me with warm water, it was soothing and it felt like some sort of rebirth. It became comforting and as she washed my hair, and rubbed oils into my skin I began to remember being about 7 years old in India and someone washing my hair with oils.
We were then guided into a small room, that was scented with argon oil and had a massage – it was deep, slightly painful and wonderful. After the whole experience you’re given a glass of mint tea and swiftly sent on your way.
The whole experience was overwhelming but I felt so alive and dizzy. (I think I was dehydrated.)
This picture is of the fire place that heats Hammam Mouassine. Rue Sidi el Yamani، Marrakesh 40000, Morocco
This is of inside the herbalist shop.