“When you stop doing things for fun you might as well be dead.”
Myra and I spent one afternoon in a Turkish bath house (hammam) which was an interesting experience to say the least. After we walked in we were ushered into a room to change out of our clothes (except for our underwear) at which point we were escorted into the bath house, a large beautiful room with many different water taps all around. We spent thirty minutes or so dumping water upon ourselves before we were called in for our scrubbing. Though we assumed that the scrubbing would be relaxing, we quickly realized that it’s a bit more like grinding sandpaper all over your body as the point is to peel away all of your dead skin. After that they lathered us with soap and scrubbed us down again, this time, with a bit of a massage. The scrubbing and soaping took about twenty minutes each, after which time we were allowed to stay as long as we pleased in the bath house or sauna washing ourselves. Historians believe that the Ottoman Turks inherited the Roman bath concept (and architecture), and then adapted it to the Turkish taste, and throughout our trip, we have seen all kinds of hammams both new and old.
We stayed in the town of Safranbolu (which is in northwest Turkey) for a few nights, a village which is on the UNESCO World Heritage list due to its well preserved Ottoman style houses. It also happens to be a center for growing saffron, and use to be an important trade center on along the Silk Road. It was a cute town with a whole lot of snow which made it wonderful for walking around!