The Hamman

Today’s post will be minus photos. I’m doing you a favor. One of the things you should do on a visit to Turkey is visit a Hammam. Traditional baths where one can get so clean you squeak on the way home. There is one down the hill from my studio rental that is used by the local women. These are not super models, just real women taking part in their traditions. I’m sure a bit of gossip is exchanged there, but no place to hide, believe me.

I walked around this place a few times before I followed a woman inside. There are separate sections for women and men and I didn’t want to make a bruta figura (faux pas) that would be embarrassing and might create a diplomatic crisis. Once inside I was given a stall to undress and wrap up in a towel. I read that you can wear your underwear or go au natural. I chose the later. One could also wear a bathing suit, but that sort of defeats the purpose. The other women were in various stages of undress so I felt comfortable enough. First off was pouring warm water over your body followed by a some time in the sauna. After that you lay on a marble table like thing in the middle of the room where you are scrubbed with a loofa like pad that sort of feels like being groomed by a large cat. You are rinsed off and then washed with soap and given a light massage. I hear that this can be somewhat painful on the men’s side. Rinsed again. I nearly slid off the marble with all the water and soap. The last part is a shampoo with a scalp massage. Cream rinse not included, but presumably you could bring your own. I dried off, put a cap over my wet hair, dressed, and walked home. This only cost $15. I would do it again if I were staying longer. It’s recommended not to go again for 10 days.

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