Really - how can you come to Turkey and not partake in a Turkish Bath? That's the question i asked myself. After some consideration and flashbacks to my India massage experience I decided to stick to my travel mantra of "just say yes" and give it a try.
The Bathhouse was right across the street from our hostel so I had little time to second-guess myself. Once I entered, showed my pre-paid ticket and declined the add-on of an oil massage, an attendant quickly whisked me downstairs to the locker. Unlike the India experience I brought my bathing suit with me so I wasn't feeling too exposed.
Once changed the attendant directed me to sit down and then proceeded to paint my face with some mixture. From there it was off to the sauna where he indicated in broken English I was to stay until the grains of sand in the "timer" emptied out.
I was a little relieved to have the sauna to myself. I was sitting comfortably watching the slow trickle of the sand grains when the door opened and a different guy asked if I was ok. I said yes, but I guess he felt the sauna needed a jolt so he splashes some more water on the rocks.
Those who know me know that on occasion my sweat glands have been known to go into hyperdrive. The rapid rise in the sauna temperature basically triggered a meltdown for me. But I decided to hold steady and wait for the sand to run out. Even if I was doing my best wicked witch impression.
Thankfully the dude came to check on me and evidently determined that I was done. I left the sauna and went into another room that had marble bench seating around the perimeter and a rectangular slab in the middle where another guy was being attended to. My guy told me to sit on the bench and then suddenly started pouring water over my head, with directions to "wash" given. I guess that was to get whatever face stuff that was still there off. A few more dunkings and it was time to go to the slab.
Slab time was basically a two part experience. The first was a scrubbing that at one point I thought would totally remove my hard-earned tan. Once that part was completed there was the follow up massage and rinsing. It's amazing how much more comfortable I was strictly because I wasn't naked!
After the last rinse he told me to stand up, put my arms out and most importantly relax. He then wrapped his arms around me and proceeded to squeeze me until I could here my back crack. Never has a manhug felt so good.
After that I was basically done. He showed me to the cold water jacuzzi then I was able to chill with some apple tea and reflect on how I have probably never been so clean!