What Happens in a Turkish Bath?

This place is old!

This place is old!

The kids were apprehensive about the Turkish bath, maybe because they haven’t yet embraced the concept of being clean (although Charlie’s getting there, which is good because middle school is looming). They also had concerns like “will I die if it gets too hot in the sauna?” and “I don’t want anyone to see me naked”. One of them was nearly in tears with fear! Tim and I assured them it would be an interesting experience and one that they wouldn’t forget!

Here’s what happens when you go to a hamami:

1. After changing into a towel or bathing suit, you are left in the sauna room. Here the sweat starts flowing and the pores open up. There are hot stone slabs to relax the muscles and buckets of cold water if you need a break from the heat.

The steam room was, well, steamy

Can you find us?

2. About 15 minutes later, the attendant guides you to a table and scrubs your body with a loofah. He scrubs until rolls of dead skin come off your body (this happens even if you bath daily, as we adults do). Yeah, it’s kinda yucky, but cool at the same time.

A.J. likened the loofah rub to being licked by a giant cat! He exclaimed many times “oh, this is the life!”

          3. After the scrubbing, the attendant lathers you with a bag of bubbles and massages your skin. It’s very relaxing.

A.J. is discreetly covered by a towel

A.J. is discreetly covered by a towel, of course…

          4. He washes your hair and rinses you with buckets and buckets of warm water. This feels great!

         5. Then, it’s time to get wrapped up and have some snacks. We enjoyed apple tea and fresh fruit.

Ah, never been so clean!

Ah, never been so clean!

          6. At this point, an optional oil massage is offered, which two did and we loved it. Wow, this is the life.

There are many Turkish Bath facilities around; some are more touristy and less authentic than this one was. We were there for about an hour and a half, and had the bath to ourselves. Apparently it is busier in the evening, so try earlier in the day if you don’t want the crowds.The total price for the for of us, including tip, was about US$70, but the experience was priceless.

Oh, yes…. the kids loved it!

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