My Turkish Hammam

April 30, 2006

I’m not going to lie. I was almost fearing this.

While some people might view a ‘Turkish bath’ as something like a relaxing spa treatment, I had read enough to know that
this was not going to be some blissful, serene experience.  I knew that this ‘bath’ was going to consist of intense scrubbing.
The mystery was how intense it was going to be.

Cindy and I were first led to what could be described as a huge public marble sauna. It was quite beautiful. Here, they sat us
down next to faucets that were on the perimeter of this massive ‘room’ and had us bathe with plain water. Now we were to
wait. I think they just wanted us to sweat a lot. A while later, some large women came in who were wearing bathing suits.
Bathing suits that were down at their waists. I’ll have to admit that I was a little bit frightened. These women scared me a bit
when we first walked in; I was even more scared now that I had seen them practically completely naked.

And then I got summonsed by one of them…

I plopped onto the marble platform-of-sorts that was in the center of the room. I was ordered to take off my bathing suit and
I obliged. I laid on my back and she began my scrub-down. She scrubbed me down all over. I just closed my eyes and was
thankful that it wasn’t as hard of a scrub-down as I imagined it would be. It was now time for her to point out all of the dead
skin that was rubbed off of my body. This is exactly as unpleasant as it sounds. She scrubbed a bit more and then asked “Feel
nice?” Ummm…
Yeah. Having all of the dead skin being rubbed off of my chest, butt, etc. with scrubbing mitts by
somebody I just involuntarily saw naked feels reeeaally nice.  

I washed off my body (literally as I needed to get rid of the dead skin that was still on me) and was called back over to my
spot on the platform. Now it was time for her to bathe me a la how I was bathed when I was five years old. She soaped me up
and washed me down. Now it was time for her to wash my hair. Yes, she even washes hair. I flinched every time she poured
the silver bucket of water over my head to wash out the shampoo.

I felt like I was a child again. Albeit, a very clean one.

(Some of the pictures on the link below definitely do this place justice...)

Cagaloglu Hamami
Back to Turkey Page
A picture of the room we bathed in.