Turkish Baths

So I don’t have an official bucket list, but if I did, I don’t think that adding ‘take a Turkish bath’ would have occurred to me. Having now experienced a Turkish bath, I encourage everyone else to try it too.

We were in Kusadasi last cruise and Catherine, Emanuel and I took the advice from other crew and tried it out. After a little van ride and negotiating a price of $15/person, we were dropped off at the bath. It was in a really pretty building that had a fancy garden with topiaries, a nice looking rooster, an outdoor bar, and Turkish men playing cards in the courtyard. Inside, there’s a lobby area with seating around a fountain in the middle of the room. The room is two stories tall with domed roof in the middle. The second story has a balcony in a ring open to the first floor and the dome.

We were ushered upstairs, a man pointed out bath flip flops lined up for us, and directed us to the lockers. After we changed into swimsuits we were ushered back downstairs and sent through a wooden arched door into the bath. This was a huge room with another mosaic tile dome in the center with many little skylights. Everything was either marble or mosaic. Centered below the dome was a giant round marble table that was probably 15’ in diameter. All around the edges of the room were little sinks and two showers. It was really warm and really steamy inside.

The man told us to lie down on the marble, and said we could shower off any time to cool down. For the first twenty minutes or so Catherine, Emanuel, and I were the only ones there, and we were really impressed with the sound in the room. Laying on the marble under the dome was like being inside a bell the way the overtones echoed, and Emanuel sang a little bit. Gradually, about six other people came in and joined on the marble table. We got to steam and relax for about thirty or forty minutes before a couple Turkish men wearing plaid towels around their waist (and nothing else…unless you count chest hair…) came in. First, I was exfoliated with a scratchy mitten and it felt really nice, then showered off. After that I lay down on the marble again and he filled up what looked like a giant pillowcase with foam and smooshed it over my body so I was blanketed in bubbles, and that was followed by a really soapy massage. Next, he scrubbed and pumiced my feet. When I was all finished and rinsed off another man wrapped me up in towels and the three of us went into the lobby room to sit on couches by the fountain and relax. They served us cold drinks, and we sat and dried for about another half hour before the van driver told us to get ready to go. A super weird experience, but really fun and really relaxing.

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