Turkiye 7th - 22nd May 2007
Turkish Bath, Istanbul - Part Eight
Breakfast. Toast with cheese, sausage white cheese and olive.
My first destination, on the following day was Haseki Harrem Sultan Hamam, a carpet museum located at the royal box of Sultanahment Camii (Blue Mosque). It houses a nice collection of historical Turkish carpets. Animal figured rugs, Usak carpets, a fascinating collection of praying rugs are displayed in the two storey building where Ottoman Sultans prepared themselves for hamam, literally Turkish bath.
Haseki Harrem Sultan Hamam
Cemberlitas Hamam, Sultanahmet district.
One of the truly unmissable experiences of a trip to Turkey is a visit to the hamam, literally Turkish bath. The Turkish bath as a method of cleansing the body and relaxation is particularly popular to entertain tourists as another stop in their daily tours. The process involved in taking a Turkish bath is similar to that of a sauna, but is more closely related to the bathing practices of the Romans.
I decided to have a bath after fifteenth days of exploring the capital, Denizli, Pamukkale, Antalya and Izmir to clean the entire of my body. Upon entering, a attendant will ask you if you need a bath and scrub or massage. My attendant did not speak much English. I was given the choice of bathing myself or receiving a scrub, or massage. I said yes to all options. My attendant gave me a cotton wrap, or pestemal, and a pair of slippers, or terlik, along with a key to your cubicle. then was brought to a dressing room, which is surrounded by private cubicles where you dress. My attendant told me that once you have removed all your clothing and wrapped the cotton cloth around you sarong style like a skirt, you are ready to go. Ready to go?
I was taken to a warm, humid room with a raised stone platform (goebektas) in the center, surrounded by bathing alcoves, in pretty coloured quartz tiles. The tiles remove static electricity from the air, and help to relax the mind and body. The light, diffused through glass in the ceiling is soft and relaxing. I lay on the platform (but you can sit if you prefer) which is heated, and worked up a sweat. My attendant then lead me to one of the basins, and then i was scrubbed cleaner than i ever have been, and again. The attendant used a coarse mitt to remove layers of dead skin, then came the soap. He used a lacy cloth, like an icing bag, then blew through it to create bubbles. I was covered from head to toe with white frothy bubbles. My hair was piled high, a bit like Marge Simpson`s and i enjoyed a wonderful scalp massage.
The room, towel and slippers.
After the rest, it was time to head back to the cubicle to get dressed. Although a scrub and massage generally takes an hour and a half, you can take as much time as you need. It`s about $20 for a scrub and massage. While the massage at Cemberlitas Hamam was a bit rough (although just as good and much cheaper), but you must not miss taking a Turkish bath when in Istanbul, especially after a long, hot day of sightseeing to energize the muscles. Or you can anyhow try the luxurious hamam at any five star hotel in Istanbul.
Turkish bath? Good? *ponders* No freaking idea! Let me try first.
I spent two hours enjoying the bath until i forgot the time to go back home. It was late when i arrived home. Seyda and mother had had their dinner. But we had dessert and corns together. The dessert was yogurt with strawberry.
Need to mention about my VIP room in Istanbul. Necla`s mother changed the sheet everyday for me. Treated me like her own son. Being a three daughters` mother, she has longed to have a son. I understand her feeling. And i told her that i will be back in 2010, definitely back! She smiled. She looked so happy. Time flew. It was finally the last day in Turkey. It was the time to say sayonara. We had lavarsh with cheese which is a type of turkish flatbread.
Breakfast on the last day.
I then walked around the residential area before going to the post office to send the postcards out. I met cute Turkish kids. After that i took a short stroll enjoying the view of Sea of Marmara before heading back.
Lunch was Turkish pizza. It was very quiet. None of us talked while having our lunch. I bravely broke the silent by asking how should i go to the airport. I told them not to go to the airport with me. I knew that they would definitely tear the second i step in the entrance of departure hall. Mother called a private taxi for me.
Gule-gule (goodbye) Turkey. Çok tesekkur ederim to Anne, Necla, Ceyda, Sevda, Oslem and those i had met. I will be back and wish to meet you all again in Turkey.
Ataturk International Airport, Istanbul, Turkey.
Emirates, one of my favourite airlines.