My First Hamam (or Turkish Bath)

When Bill suggested trying a Hamam, I quickly agreed. I’m all for trying something new that doesn’t require being on my feet! I was, though, a bit apprehensive about going to a place alone, knowing English wasn’t spoken, so we invited Sue and Dave, the couple we met two weeks ago in Cappadoccia.

We arrive at the Hamam where the guys go one way and Sue and I go the other. A young lady escorts us to a changing room and indicates that we should change into our bathing suits (luckily, I asked our hotel what I should bring before we left, so I was prepared — or so I thought!) Now, as I said, I’ve only known Sue for two weeks, but they put us in the same dressing room so we had no choice but to get undressed together.

After changing, we were led to the sauna (pronounced in broken English as “sue awna”) where we sit for about 15 hot minutes. This being our first experience in a Hamam, we wait for someone to come and get us, but no one comes. Finally, we decide to get up and leave the room. I figured out later that the whole Hamam experience is done on your own time. We could have spent the entire evening in the sauna if we wanted.

A scantily clad (as in bra and panties) young lady was waiting for us. She takes one look at me, points to the top of my tankini and says, “Off”. I look around and see similarly dressed young ladies “working their women” on a marble slate. So, off comes my top and I lay on my stomach. The next thing I feel is a few drops of water on my feet and then, whoosh!, warm water being poured all over my body. Then comes the soap which has a tingling sensation. The soap starts foaming and I open my eyes (big mistake — soap in eyes!) Out comes the loofah. Scrubbing here, scrubbing there. She gives me a wedgie and scrubs my butt! Authoritatively, she says “Over”. So I flip over. Scrubs some more, not missing a spot! Then she has me sit up, raises my arms, and uses the loofah from the tips of my fingers to my waist while I’m trying not to laugh because I’m ticklish.

Next she brings me to another part of the room with warm water flowing into a basin and uses a small bowl to start rinsing me off, pouring water over my head, down my back, under my arms, in between my legs, just about everywhere. She grabs some shampoo and massages my scalp and rinses me again. Then she sends me back to the first spot and after applying more soap, starts giving me a full body massage. She knows what she’s doing, kneading me in all the right places.

Lastly, she leads me to a pool, and in very broken English, she points and says “pool, sauna, shower.” She leaves me there to go and work on her next customer and I start entering the pool. After being pampered with the warm water treatment, the water feels quite chilly and the room is dark so I can’t see the bottom. I’m walking down the ladder, hoping that I can touch the bottom. Luckily, I just make it. I’m in up to my neck and on my tippy toes.

By this time, I’ve lost complete track of time. We’re supposed to meet the guys in 1 1/2 hours, but since neither Sue nor I have a watch on, we don’t know how long we’ve been there.

So after the pool, sauna and shower, we meet up with the guys, served some tea and brought back to our hotel. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and would do it again.

I did, however, come away with something more than just being squeaky clean. Firstly, I like being in a place for women only. I found it rather comforting. Secondly, I saw almost-naked bodies and thought that we come in all shapes and sizes and we’re all beautiful. I look no different than any other woman my age and should feel good about myself. And I do!

Pictures courtesy of Google. I did not have my camera nor were there any men!

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7 thoughts on “My First Hamam (or Turkish Bath)

    • The hamman was awesome. I could make it a regular activity! Please note: Whoever makes the post gets an email with the comment. The other one of us won’t see the comment unless they look at the website (which we never do except when editing a post), or are told there is a comment (or two). Or in Bruce’s case, his WordPress privacy settings require the necessity of logging-in to see it.

  1. Love the way you have written about our experience! There’s a first time for everything and I’m so glad we went. Now why did I wait till the END of our six months in Turkey?!!

  2. I’m so glad we met and got to enjoy some time together. Hopefully, our paths will cross again in the future. Wishing you and Dave continued safe travels. Let’s keep in touch.

  3. What a great experience! Now I know what a turkish bath is. I loved the story and laughed heartily! How did Bill make out on his adventure at the bath?

    Miss you! Jodie

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