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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Turkish Delight, on a Moonlit Night

TURKEY | Friday, 22 March 2013 | Views [1860]

A steamy Turkish bath would be the highlight of this blustery Istanbul day! After a delicious breakfast Ali and I set out, and I had to find a place to stay for the next couple of nights because he told me his flatmates didn't like me staying there; they said they didn't like how I acted at the club the other night, and I felt bad because I had a few glasses of wine and as a result was loud and boisterous. It was rather cold this morning but nice enough for a pleasant walk, but I wanted to put my gear down. Ali told me he felt really bad about what happened and if he had his own place like he used to, it wouldn't have mattered. I got along with all of them and last night we all sat up and chatted for a long while. As Ali and I headed toward the ferry I noticed an iPhone costs a whopping 2,100 TL (about US$1,100). Looks like I won't be buying my first iPhone in Turkey! Ali told me the best place to stay would be over in Sultanahmet but I didn't want to stay in a touristy area, and there are only two hostels in Kadıköy and they are both full. Then the idea came to me that there are heaps of hostels in Sultanahmet and that Kadıköy is only a short (and scenic) ferry ride away. There is one other friend who lives in Kadıköy, and she's a lovely lady whom I met on the plane on the way to Ethiopia. Her name is Esin, and in my poet words she's "divinely gorgeous." My hope would be to see her today or tomorrow. It was too cold to go outside on the ferry so I sat inside and got some cheese toast and a glass of tea. Food on the ferry is very reasonably priced and it's perfect for those who sail between Asia and Europe everyday for work to eat a cheap and tasty breakfast before stepping off. Ali and I had to part ways because he had to go to work and I had to find a place to stay. It started to rain and my gear was weighing me down. This morning I was frustrated with myself because I woke up at 11:30 AM, basically wasting half a day, and because of what happened at Ali's flat. I can tell he feels bad and he had a heavy heart in telling me I could no longer stay. He's a great host and I'm glad I got to stay with him for the time I did. Getting lost in the maze of streets of Sultanahmet I spotted dozens of hotels but the only hostel I saw was closed. When I dragged my wet self into a hotel I was pointed to a hotel/hostel around the corner called the Cordial House Hotel. Upon calling in I spot a flyer for something I immediately thought would take my cares away: a Turkish bath, or hamam. 

My options were: a self-service bath for 45 TL, a "traditional style" for 69 TL, and a "traditional style" with a 30-minute oil massage for 117 TL. If you choose the traditional style, an attendant washes you after perspiring on the marble. A massage sounded tempting but I wasn't sure if I had enough money for it and I wanted to find out more about it. A girl named Zoe told me that her brother got traditional treatment and a massage a by a man, and that in his words is so hard it "crushes your balls." Immediately I wasn't comfortable at the idea of other men touching me so I opted for the self-service. The hostel gives a 5 TL discount if you book through them. It was chilly out and after a couple of islak burgers and a few cups of tea I entered the hot and steamy world of Çemberlitaş Hamamı. Before putting my stuff in a locker I was handed a peştamal: a red and white cotton garment similar to a sarong. Moving deeper into the world of Turkish bathing I enter the sıcaklık, which is a large marble platform to relax on. The heat opens up your pores and causes you to perspire. It's recommended to lay on the platform for about 20 minutes before moving to the kurna (bathing basin) to wash yourself, and then have as many rounds as you like. That's what I did: I relaxed, locked away my worries and gazed at the dome. The bath was completed in 1584. What a wonder to be in a bathing complex that was built an astounding 429 years ago! Istanbul, I love you! This is one city I've come to really love. It's the kind of place where you bring a special lady, and you make love on a rooftop beneath the sexy Turkish moonlight with the scent of shisha wafting from the dwellings below, or take her to a private cubicle of a hamam and have an evening steamier than anything you've ever imagined! As a hopeless romantic it has never worked out for me to bring a special someone on a journey with me but if I ever did, Istanbul would be a top choice! After several rounds of complete stillness on the marble and washing in the kurna I felt refreshed and reborn in the stretch of only about an hour. A cup of sumptuous Turkish tea at the end of the bath was the icing on the cake before I handed my peştamal to the attendant and was given a dry one to put on. 

Ahhh yea! Invigorating! A steamy Turkish bath...that's my Turkish delight on this moonlit night!

Tags: baths, culture

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