Hammam, pamukkale and turkey wrapup

Trip Start Jul 11, 2008
1
10
49
Trip End Feb 28, 2009


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Flag of Turkey  , Denizli,
Friday, August 15, 2008

Day 8:

Fortunately we were able to sleep in a bit after a fairly late night. When we did arise, it was time for a Hammam (Turkish bath). Justin, Jacqui, Sheila, Jamie and I went off to have a bath, not really knowing what to expect. When we got there, we had to strip down to our underwear and wrap a towel around us. We then had a cold shower and went into a really hot room with a big round, heated stone in the middle. We lay on the stone for about 20mins before the next stage began. I was called first and went over to a cooler stone bench where a big Turkish man proceeded to exfoliate me with a rough glove. It was quite a pleasant experience, almost like a massage. At the end there was a lot of skin, oil, dirt, etc all over me and I had to have a shower to rinse it all off. Each person had their go and then we sat back on the hot stone.

The next step was to get washed down by another man with a soapy kind of pillow case thing. He then gave a very strong massage, rubbing the tension out of my muscles and cracking the bones in my feet, back, and neck. I then had to have another cold shower and the hammam experience was over. There was the option to have an oil massage as well but we had run out of time and had to get back to the hotel in time to have some lunch and catch our bus to the next destination. After the hammam, I felt cleaner than I ever had in my life and just felt good. I think I must have lost about 2 litres of sweat but it was a fantastic, invigorating experience.

After a bus ride to Pamukkale, we went and saw the calcium terraces. There were a lot of ruins (by this stage I was a bit over ruins, especially in 45 degree heat) as well as some terrific views from the top of the mountain. But the highlight was the calcium terraces themselves. They were almost completely white going down a slope to the bottom of the hill. The calcium had been deposited in a way that it formed terraces and on each terrace there was a pool of mineral rich water. Apparently the water there has healing qualities. Either way, it was very pleasant to walk in the cool water after a hot day of walking up and down the hill looking at ruins. We walked all the way down to the bottom and then went back to the hotel for dinner.

After a quick dinner we were off to get our final bus to Istanbul. Originally it was meant to be an overnight sleeper train but the Turkish decided to do track work in the middle of tourist season so we had to get a bus instead. All up, the bus ride back to Istanbul took 13 hours. I took a couple of sleeping pills which provided some relief and let me sleep a little, but it was a drug induced sleep and not very restful at all. By the time we got to Istanbul I think I had had my fair share of bus rides for the year. Even though Turkish buses are good compared to buses back in Australia, there are only so many bus rides that you can take before you get fed up.
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