One Year In: A Trip to the Hair Salon

It has been one year since Michael and I moved to Spain. Which means it has been one year since I’ve gotten my hair cut.


It just hasn’t been a priority.

And Michael likes it long.

Would prefer I never step foot in a salon, in fact.

So I had a happy husband. And a huge head of hair.

But now it was time.

I chose the salon based on its name alone. Michael didn’t think this the best idea. But when you know, you know.

Ultreia Biopeluqería is right around the corner from our apartment. .

I first saw that word “Ultrreia” on the Camino de Santiago. It has its roots in Latin and means “beyond.” Now people translate it as “Go beyond” or “Onwards.”

At first, I had no idea why there would be a hair salon by that name. Then I learned on their web site that they are a “Biopeluquería” working with organic products that are respectful of the environment. So that makes sense.

Michael and I walked in last Thursday to make the appointment. Because I have learned that, at this stage in my Spanish language acquisition, I can call to make hotel and restaurant reservations, but not much else.

I thought 10:30 was a bit early for anything to get done here in Spain. But that’s the appointment I was given, so that’s when I showed up.

The lights were on.

The door was locked.

I rang the bell. Nothing.

Having lived here a year, this seemed almost normal to me. Just that morning I wondered why I made my appointment so early.

I waited. Took in the moss covered wall inside. Read the placard that encouraged cleaning up after your dog. There was a roll of small plastic bags affixed to it. And a cartoon image of a dog saying, “It’s everyone’s responsibility.” Or the Spanish equivalent of that.

Soon a man came up behind me. Keys out, to-go coffee cup in hand, and small paper bag I knew, from experience, held a baked good. “Perdon,” he said.

“No pasa nada,” I replied.

I had used a translation app to help me prepare what I wanted to say. But I didn’t need it.

After he sat me in a chair, I started with the usual, “Mi español no es muy bueno. Entiendo y hablo un poco.” I told him I liked the length, but maybe a little shorter. And some layers.

He brought over a flowered silk kimono-like robe for me to put on. Slid a towel under the neckline. And then he slid a barn door open behind me to reveal a darkened room. He pointed to another chair beyond which were the sinks.

I had just been thinking yesterday, “Why haven’t we come up with a more comfortable way for women to get their hair washed in a salon?”

And like magic, here it was.

I took my place on the cushioned chair. He closed me into the room and then entered from another door behind the sinks. A button was pushed and my chair reclined nearly to a bed. The perfect angle with which to watch the underwater sea life showing on the large screen TV. Spa music flowed from unseen speakers.

He asked about water temperature. And then it began.

He slowly massaged the soap into my hair. Rinsed it.

Another soapy massage. This time he turned my head to one side, massaged my shoulder, then did the other side.

He massaged in a third soap and this time told me it needed to soak in for a few minutes. I closed my eyes and thought, “Can he just leave me here for an hour?”

Yes, he did eventually cut my hair. And I like it. Michael is handling it well.

But for me? That hair washing experience? It certainly went beyond. . .

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