Taking The Plunge- A Turkish Bath

A MUST DO WHEN VISITING ISTANBUL!

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I booked into my Hammam on recommendation from my chief stew.  It was a slightly more expensive one than the others, but she had sung its praises and so I decided to treat myself.  As I do.  I was hoping that Bryce and I could do it together, but this particular Hammam, voted one of the top 5 in Turkey, separated the males and females by time slots.  So, the men go from 4:30 pm to 10:30 pm and the women from 8am to 4pm.  Take a look at the website, because it is beautiful: Kili Cali Pasa Hamami

I had a half day off at work, because I was due to fly out at 2am in the morning, so I strolled down to Karakoy and had a wonder, before checking in to the Hammam.  From the outside, you would have no idea what the inside holds, you walk down a rather non-descript alley, past a Big Mosque and get to a beautiful big wooden door.  As you walk in you are warmly welcomed with a towel and get guided to a table, where you fill out the usual indemnity form.  And then from that moment, the luxury unfolds.  You are handed a key to a private locker, where your clothes and belongings are stored.  You swop your clothes out for a towel and a comfortable pair of leather sandals.  You look like everyone else- relaxed.

The entire room is marble, grand and quiet.  With the small sounds of water flowing and tea being made.  The building itself is gorgeous, with a dome roof, that lets in lots of natural light through beautifully crafted pattern .  The colours are very neutral and immediately makes you feel calm and at ease.  You want to be quiet, you immediately relax.  Your body takes all of its queues from the surroundings.  There are a couple of woman that quietly go about their tasks, blending into the environment perfectly.  I had a sweet plum juice to start of the sensary explosion.

From there, a lovely woman came to collect me and take me to another room. She was motherly, quiet and smiley.  Full figured, with her belly rolling over her towel.  She guided me into a little room, where she wrapped my towel around my waist, exposing the rest of me.  Without saying too much, the entire ritual was conducted by small gestures and momentary pulls from her into a new room or a different body position.  She washed me down, like your mum did when you were young, using a pale to throw water over my head and rinse down my body.

I was then guided into the next room, that had a large marble slab in the centre and many other marble benches around it, each with a station set up for the different women to scrub down their “clients”.  My body loved feeling the warm marble under my back, as I was instructed to lie there for twenty minutes.  The heat of the stone completely relaxes you and you can feel your body melt into bliss.  I wanted to stay there for ages.  But as I started to feel my eyes drift off, she guided me to one of the benches and began to scrub me down.  It was amazing, with a number of different types of sponges, your skin gets washed, exfoliated and polished, leaving you feel like you have shed a layer or two of skin, as well as stress.  With every different sponge came a number of different positions to be put in, from crouching to sitting, to standing.  It was so great.  And then just when you think it is all over, you get spoilt with a small massage.  My favourite part of the experience, was having foam poured all over me, from head to toe.  it took me back to my childhood days of foam baths.  With only my eyes sticking out, I couldn’t help but smile.

And once that was done, she took me to the next room to be dried off and moisturised.  With my skin feeling glowing and radiant, I then sat and relaxed for hours on the benches in the main relaxation area.  The tea menu was exciting and the presentation of the teas even more so.  I felt like a princess.  When, eventually I had to leave, I said a little prayer that I would be back for another heavenly Hammam experience and hopefully this next weekend I will be.

I strongly encouraged Bryce to go and thankfully he took my advice.  Encouraging some of the other boys to join him.  I know he loved it just as much.  It’s hard not to.

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