I slept in on my first morning in Turkey. It was nice to relax a little, as the last few days had been long, exhausting, and jam packed with activities, and only 4 hour sleeps at night. I was nearing the end of my massive world tour and trying to find the balance between seeing as much as possible and taking some time out. A difficult balance to find!
I started the day in Antalya by walking down to the marina. I was planning a short boat cruise along the shoreline to view the cities waterfalls. I found a boat waiting to take passengers, so with little fuss, and an interesting compliment, apparently I look like Lady Diana, I boarded the pirate ship style boat for a relaxing few hours of cruising.
The views were good, deep blue water, rocky sandstone outcrops, and a few waterfalls to admire. It came to my conclusion that I do not know why we get so excited about waterfalls? Perhaps I have now seen my fair share on this trip, from Iceland, to Turkey, I had seen all types of gushing and cascading water!
I chatted to a lovely Chinese woman on the top deck as we admired the view with the wind in our hair, and sun on our backs. She was a business woman and travelled extensively. She was friendly and we both shared our life stories, the 15 second versions. She was also not married and without children; telling me that in China this is not a good thing at 33. She felt her parents and society put a lot of pressure on her to be married and have children, but she just did not have the time to meet a good man, and she had had a bad experience. Of course my ears pricked up, everyone loves a good tragedy.
She was due to be married to a man about 6 years previously, and then she found out he was sleeping around on her with other women. I was quite surprised, I thought in general Chinese men were more loyal? I guess there are that many of them you would find all sorts, the cheating types as well. I felt sorry for her, but I reminded her she was lucky to know before she married the swine. At least she still had her freedom, and this old chestnut;
“Better to be happy on your own, than unhappy in love.”
Such a cliche, but so true. I have been unhappy in love before, and it totally sucked. It is so important to seek out a good man and not to settle for one who is not right 100%. Happiness in our relationships are crucial to a happy life.
She invited me for lunch which was very kind of her. Our conversation continued to flow effortlessly over our meal, reminding me that regardless of nationality we all have similar wants and needs. To be happy, find love, keep love, and to make the most of our lives. It sounded to me that she worked too much, I hope my intermittent work and lifestyle choice rubbed off on her a little; those Chinese really do like to work hard and for long hours. 2 weeks is the average length of annual leave. I did not want to mention on average I would take 3 to 6 months off in the year, well this had been true for the last 3 years. Due to circumstances I say, not wanting to delve into the fact I nursed my Mum to her death and felt too tragic to work last year. Anyhow, back to Turkey!
After lunch we waved good bye and I headed to my next activity, a Turkish bath experience. I had really wanted to try this out for years so I was really looking forward to it. After I paid up my lire at the front desk I was guided to the Lady section, as they separate the sexes, fortunately. I was told to take off all my clothes. ALL my clothes? Yes, apparently that is how it works. So with some shyness, I stripped bare butt naked and tip toed gingerly out to see what the lady wanted me to do next. Crikey!
With no English, she indicated I was to follow her through to the steaming bath section. I walked through white marbled corridors 700 years old so the sign said out the front, quite warm, low ceilinged and made my way into a little hovel, white dome roofed room. Here I was instructed to ‘bathe’ in the water for 15 minutes. Wow, 15 minutes I thought, that’s a long time to throw a little metal bowl of hot water over myself. She totted away and I started with the bathing. I must have tipped at least 40 small bowls over myself then I felt like I was in some sort of purgatory. I was already emotional this day as it was my Fathers 3rd year anniversary since his death. As I sat naked in this small marbled hot room, I thought this is how it must be in prison. Except this was a bit nicer. I then tried to meditate, and talk to my Dad a little. I know that was weird, but what else are you going to do naked, with only a silver bowl to entertain yourself?
Finally after what felt like a million years, the little lady came back and beckoned me into the next section. Here I laid on a hard marble slab, surprisingly not as uncomfortable as it sounds, and she gave me a full body scrub. Exfoliating my dead skin felt cathartic. I needed this. Scrape that skin lady! Shed that layer! It felt rough but good, and I knew it was emotionally good to get rid of my external layer of skin and any negative energy, that can be scrubbed away too, thanks very much.
Then back to the wash room to wash it all off. Oh yeah, even better. Clean and without dead skin. The next stage was a soapy wash. She sponged me all over, and I mean all over, with hot soapy sweet rose smelling sudsy stuff, sponging me all over like a woman on a mission to clean. It felt good I will not lie. It was nice to be touched all over, it had been awhile that I had even been touched, rubbed, or massaged. Then, back again to wash it all off.
The next stage was a hot oil massage. This was really good, but I wanted it to go on for about 3 hours. I was feeling much more relaxed by this stage, and after a once over from head to toe on each side of my body, she was done. Keep going I thought! Lets just do it all over again from the start! I will even go back to purgatory for 15 minutes to get all that awesome sudsing, and massaging and pampering.
I highly recommend the Turkish Bath experience. I plan to go again in Istanbul, I would go every day if I had the time. I would pay for that lady to come back to Perth with me and give me that treatment every day. It was that good.
I am right into colour, if you could not tell by my pictures? I came across this awesome ceramic tile shop, with beautiful decorative plates in bright blues and reds and patterns. They were all really beautiful, I would have bought at least 6, except, a very impractical purchase as a traveller. I highly recommend the turkish ceramics. Take a look here for some ideas and purchasing.
One thing I really love about Turkey, everyone is so friendly! Such a contrast to Germany where everyone walked around with serious grim looks all the time. Most people said hello, caught my eye, and seemed warm and welcoming. The fact they probably wanted me to just spend my money was arbitrary, if felt friendlier, and that made me feel good.
On first impressions I really enjoyed Turkey. I loved that I had started with a smaller coastal town. I hope you have enjoyed my first article on Turkey, there are a few more to come!
What is your favourite place in Turkey?
“Go travel, you will never regret it” ~ Me, just now.
My first day in Antalya proved to be a success. I had made the most of my day, and also had some time to relax. The next day I plan to take a full day tour to Pammakule, and of course I will be writing and sharing my experiences.
Until then, safe travels and hope to read from you in my comments.