Getting Lei-d

IMG_0303[1]Last weekend, Joery treated me to a lovely afternoon for two at Lei, a spa in Aalst (hence my funny title. Not so funny? oh well, titles are hard). Unlike my previous spa experience, this was a completely private, relaxing affair. In fact, except in the waiting room when we were paying/leaving, I didn’t even see any other guests. Very different from the walk-around-naked experience of the last spa (which was fun in it’s own right).

Lei is located right in the center of the city, right across the street from where we always go to watch the Carnaval parade (which is coming up! 10,11,12 February!). It’s on a really nice tree-lined street near the main square and the building itself seems to be a converted house. After we arrived, we were led to a private room where there were three massage tables set up and two glasses of tea (delicious) were waiting for us.  I was super tempted to test the gong…I refrained.

The treatments started with a warm foot bath while we enjoyed our tea, and then a hot stone massage, body scrub, some kind of treatment where they wrap you in plastic and let you marinate, and a facial. The massage included the legs and feet and I had to bite my lip to keep from kicking the masseuse when she touched my feet (I’m super ticklish). Seriously, I really had to concentrate. I mean, how do you even handle that situation? “Uh, sorry I kicked you in the face, please continue.”

There was one person working on both of us, so there was a bit of hanging out between treatments. Joery totally fell asleep. He tried to play it off when I asked him if he was snoring by saying that his nose was “just a little stuffy,” but when I was getting my massage and he was all wrapped up he started snoring. Loudly. It was just like home :)


The sauna and a really comfortable bean bag chair next to the door that leads to the garden.

After the massage and facial we were led to a private room in the back of the building with a sauna and shower. There were glasses of orange juice and a bottle of water for us, and a sea salt scrub in the shower. I was a bit too enthusiastic about the “exfoliating powers” of the salt scrub, so Joery’s back was a bit red the rest of the afternoon (sorry babes…I didn’t realize how rough it was until I put it on myself). I also re-learned that I can only sit in a sauna for max 10 minutes before I convince myself that I can no longer breath and will pass out right.this.second. if I don’t leave.

Next to our room there was also a jacuzzi we could use. Sitting in the jacuzzi was fun; getting out — not so much. It was freezing outside, so you had to carefully calculate how fast you can get out, grab your robe and run inside without slipping and ending sprawled naked on the concrete with a broken arm (Joery was such a gentleman, he said if that happened — while I pondered the possibility out loud — he would be sure to cover me with a towel before getting help).

All in all, it was a wonderfully relaxing day and my skin has not felt this soft in ages. It was perfect timing for such a warm, cozy day, since it started snowing yesterday and hasn’t really stopped. In fact, I don’t know if I have really felt warm since being in that sauna.

New years drink in Ghent. It was super crowded.

New years drink in Ghent. It was super crowded.

The following day, Sunday, was the New Year’s drink in Ghent. Every year the city hosts a drink, where there’s speeches and stuff, but more importantly free booze for all attendees. It was the first time in a long, long time that I started drinking before noon (hello Cortaca!), since the event started at 10:30 in the morning. Now, I didn’t think that I had all that much to drink, but it turns out I forgot one important thing: jenever (Dutch gin) kicks your ass. Particularly the jenever they were serving, which was berry-flavored and really sweet. It was basically like drinking juice, which is why it gets you in trouble. Whatever the case, Joery and I stumbled (or I stumbled and Joery walked easily) home around 2:00 and I ended up napping the whole afternoon. I only woke up for dinner, which Joery made as I snored (and drooled a little bit) on the couch.

It was a lovely weekend.