My massive overseas adventure was coming to an end. At times it had gone really fast, and other times at a relaxed snail pace. I had moved quickly around the globe in 9 weeks I had visited Canada, Alaska, Iceland, England, Wales, Belgium, Germany and Turkey. And stayed in many more cities. I was well worn out by the end of my 9 weeks and ready to get home to the comforts of my clean pretty home city of Perth.
But first, let me tell you about how awesome my last few days in Istanbul were! I was lucky to find another girl to travel with, the day after I toured around with Leo. My new friend for the day was a young vibrant Aussie girl, studying to be a Lawyer and a very keen and capable backpacker. We hit it off immediately and I was pleased we were able to combine our plans for the day.
We had an epic mission to complete. The plan was to go to Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, the underground Basilica Cisterns, the famous Blue Mosque, walk around the Grand Bazaar, then finish the day with a Turkish Hamam experience. I am pleased to say we managed all of this, except the blue mosque. Sadly there was a queue at least 60m that would have taken hours to get through, so we passed on this one and instead made up for it by visiting other mosques in the area.
I was very impressed with these amazing old monuments, and so interesting to see Christian and Muslim monuments combined so well. Comparing to Australia, there was so much history here. We really are spring chickens down under.
The best part of the day was going to a Turkish Hamam. We chose to go to Gedikpasa Hamam, which was more reasonably priced than its competitors. My friend Jean was new to the whole experience, and at first tentative like me. As I had tried it twice before, I reassured her that pushing out of your nude comfort zone was invigorating, fun and simply felt good.
We started in a sauna, a nice humid one, were you started to sweat instantly. I usually find saunas to be too claustrophobic, but this one was very bearable, and enjoyable. Second we went into the communal bathing areas and began our first ‘wash down’, where you throw bowls of hot water over yourself.
Thirdly, a lady comes along and gives you a full body exfoliating scrub. Seeing peels of skin come off your body is kind of gross, but so good to be rid of all that dead skin. Once this is washed off, you are then up for a rose scented bubble sponge bath thingy. They suds your whole body with this soft silky rose stuff and it is awesome. Then that is washed off too. Then comes the most surprising part of this particular hamam experience…
They give you a full body massage in HONEY! It is fantastic. As most people know honey is so good for you, but I had never thought to lather myself in the stuff! She massaged me over and over front and back and face and feet with oodles of thick soft sweet honey. My tongue licked out around my lips and I could taste the sweet goodness, I was in heaven, honey heaven.
Once this was washed off, we went into a cool pool about 3m by 3m and dunked around in there for awhile. Then it was back and forth in the sauna and cold shower a few more times. By the time we came out, our feet and hands were like shrivelled prunes, but we truly felt amazing. If you ever travel to Turkey, you simply must have a Turkish Hamam experience.
My day with Jean had gone quickly, and we had really accomplished so much. Like good tourists we had ticked off lots of sites, and I had even bought a few things too!
In my next post, I will write about my last day in Istanbul.
I hope you have enjoyed reading my blogs! I love to write and I love to share with you my experiences. I also love to read your comments, please write to me and say hello and tell me what you have liked the most about my travels in Turkey.
Love Anita xx