Life in a Turkish bath
Sara Maurer, Scholars and Rogues
A few months ago, I wrote a post called Out of Our Comfort Zones while traveling through Costa Rica. My travel companions and
I engaged in every adventurous activity we could find from zip lining to repelling to swinging 300 feet in the air on a rope
through the jungle.
Today, I spent 69 Turkish Lira ($37.99) for an old topless woman to bathe me with some bubbly Turkish soap. I was out of my
comfort zone in a whole new way. And, it was wonderful.
We had heard from multiple other Istanbul travelers that it would be a mistake to miss visiting a Turkish bath, or Hamam. This
method of cleansing and relaxation involves a body scrub and bubble wash, which remove dead skin from the body, clean out the
skins pores and help a bathers skin breathe while also regulating blood circulation.
A person taking a Turkish bath first relaxes in a hot room, which allows the bather to perspire freely on a hot marble
platform. After receiving a full body scrub and bubble wash from an attendant, bathers retire to a hot tub then a cooling room
for a period of relaxation.
Perhaps the biggest debate of our entire two-week trip was what we would wear into the bath. To wear our bathing suits, or not
to wear our bathing suits. That was the question.
Traditional bath attire includes wearing at the most the Hamams provided bathing suit bottoms. Women may wear full bikinis,
but few do. In fact, those wearing a full bathing suit stand out more than the topless women who freely walk amongst one
another in the hot room.
We decided to stick with tradition. What are they going to do, rip the towels off of us? I asked my friend Jessica as I pulled
the black provided bikini bottoms out of the small bag.
Read the rest at