BUBBLES!!

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If I made a movie about our recent trip to Istanbul, Rotten Tomatoes would describe it: “The adventurous AGMA and her humorous sidekick Hubs sing and dance their way to Istanbul while encountering wacky blondes, many naked people, and never ending samples of Turkish Delight.” 

Turkey has been on my “list” for a long time now.

A few months ago, after having just read a travel post of one of my favorite bloggers, Life in the Boomer Lane (or LBL), describing her latest trip to Istanbul, AGMA perked up.

Turkish Airlines started flying direct to Istanbul from Atlanta several years ago and offered dirt cheap promotional pricing for a while. But it was right after the terrorist attack on the Araturk Airport and the coup attempt. 

Timing…not so good.

But two years later, LBL’s post about Istanbul got me thinking again…

A couple weeks later, a sale to Istanbul popped into my inbox from one of the travel sites I follow.

It was a sign!

Not only did we book the trip, but two friends of mine from my former life in Ohio decided to join us!  P-A-R-T-A-Y!

AGMA has to say that this was one of the best (albeit shortest) international trips I’ve ever taken.

Sadly for the Turkish people, their currency, the Turkish lira, is at one of the lowest levels against the dollar and Euro it’s ever been.  For Hubs and AGMA, it meant a $3.77 twenty minute Uber ride and lunch for two for at a local place for less than $6.  We left big tips.

Prices for tours, authentic name brand clothes/accessories and “experiences” (think a Turkish Bath) are in Euros because of the unstable lira.  

Did somebody mention Turkish Bath?

Yeah we did!  

We went to the Cagaloglu Hamam. They’ve been scrubbing and bathing the good people of Istanbul since 1741.

Reservations (done via email) are a must because it is a relatively famous Bath in Istanbul.  They have a “Wall of Famous Clients” (pictured above.)

AGMA’s picture will be added beside Oprah’s next week, I feel certain.

We opted for the 50 Euro “Istanbul Experience” – sort of the basic Turkish bath.  

The check-in area in the lobby was serene and peaceful, with a flute player playing mellow melodies. There was a fountain in the middle, and low table and stools for post-bath tea.

Serenity now…

 A lovely woman who spoke wonderful English whisked me off to the “Ladies Only” section.  I said bye to Hubs, praying that he wouldn’t bolt as soon as I left. 

She escorted me to a courtyard area surrounded by dressings rooms. I got my own personal room complete with a lounging couch, a side table, lamp and mirror.  On the couch was a towel and sandals wrapped in plastic.  And some “undies”.

This was getting interesting

I changed out of my clothes, wrapped the lovely towel (called a peshtemal) around me and slipped on my “underwear”.

Turns out, it was a disposable thong.  A thong??  AGMA, for reasons that would be totally clear if you knew me in person, has never worn a thong in her life.  But when in Rome… (or Istanbul!)

When my attendant Eaja came to fetch me, she told to leave my glasses in the dressing room.  AGMA is blind without her glasses.  

In hindsight, it was a good thing.

Eaja lead me to the sauna area first.  The idea was to literally sweat the crap out of your pores.  Turned out, I had a lot of crap in my pores.

After about 15 minutes, Eaja lead me to the large bath area and one of the many sinks that surrounded the large central marble slab.  Sans my towel (oh-la-la) Eaja dumped small bucket full of water on me.  Cool water.  

WTF?

She also washed and rinsed my hair.  With cool water.

Eaja then lead me to the central raised marble slab, laid my towel out and had me lay on my back.  

Mind you, AGMA is only clothed in her “thong”.  YIKES!  But my fuzzy vision could tell that everybody else was going almost commando.

It took me about a minute to get over it.  I guess that answers my question about going to a nudist camp!

Then Eaja started scrubbing me with a kese (a exfoliating mitt).  And baby, she scrubbed me from head to toe.  On both sides.

No soap; just the kese.  From the looks of the kese afterwards, I was pretty grubby.

But the next part…OMG…was the best!

BUBBLES!!!

More bubbles than I’ve ever seen in my life!  They covered me like a blanket.

Then a massage.  A bubble massage.  For about 10 minutes.

I flopped over onto my tummy, and got bubbled and massaged again.

AGMA was sooooo relaxed and little fuzzy on what happened next… 

Somehow, I got rinsed, wrapped in a dry towel and was lying down on a lounger back in the dressing room courtyard with a cup of tea, small glass of sharbat and some pieces of Turkish delight beside me.  

After 15 minutes of lounging and sort of getting my wits back, I changed in my dressing room (sadly leaving my “thong” behind.)  I dried my hair, gave Eaja a nice tip and was off in search of Hubs.

I found him in a robe, with his hair in a towel, drinking tea on a lounger in one of the rooms off the lobby.  Smiling.

He LOVED it!  Whew…

The wacky blonde was my friend who almost spent $500 (but didn’t) on saffron for “stocking stuffers” in the Grand Bazaar.  Long story…   

And Turkish Delight was EVERYWHERE and everybody wants to give you a sample!  

It was a quick hit trip – we were only gone for 5 days.  But it was a truly amazing 5 days. 

We found the Turkish people incredibly friendly and so very helpful.  Somebody was always willing to help Hubs and I when we needed to lift up his mobility scooter on a curb or up some stairs.

AGMA signed up for Turkish Airlines deal emails as soon as we got home!

I can’t wait to go back to get scrubbed and bubbled again!  Naked (nearly…)

Don’t judge me.

 

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20 thoughts on “BUBBLES!!

  1. You have inspired me! We went to Turkey in May of 2001, and LOVED it. Been reluctant to go back because of all the craziness in that part of the world. But you make it sound so very inviting. It is time to reconsider, maybe?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not sure I would travel around Turkey right now, but I felt like Istanbul was okay. Certainly anything can happen at any time, but then we know it can happen here too – in a synagogue, grocery store, church, elementary school, hospital… Sad that this is the world we live in, but the world needs people like us who are willing to travel and be ambassadors of peace and understanding. Go for it!

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  2. Right now, we are deciding on a trip back to Turkey or Equador and the Amazon. We loved Turkey so much. Was the Blue Mosque, St. Sophia and Topkapi Palace open? When we were there last March, they were all being renovated. We didn’t do the Turkish baths, so we’ll put that on our “must do” list. Sounds like you had a great time!

    Liked by 1 person

    • All were open Irene except there was still restoration going on. The treasury was closed in the Topkapi Palace (which is supposed to the THE thing to see there… 😦 ) And parts of the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia were closed off. Yes – Turkish bath – MUST DO!! It was fun!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks.When we were there, we were able to get into Hagia Sophia with the restorations going on, but not the Blue Mosque. And just part of Topkapi. I think we’ll wait awhile and hope the restorations will be complete. Definitely a Turkish bath!

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  3. I loved our tour of turkey but it didn’t include a turkish bath and now I know I missed something very relaxing. Small typo in the narrative = wrapped in a town probably should be a towel 🙂

    When we went the turkish lira had not been adjusted and a bottle of water was a million lira, I suppose it is close to 15 years ago now. It was a memorable trip and we loved it. We travelled with my parents and now that my mom has passed, it is another special part of my memory that we did that three weeks together. My Mom loved the church caves in Cappadocia.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The only other place I’ve been in Turkey is Ephesus (twice on cruises). I would love do do a tour, but Hubs is no longer “eligible” to go with a tour group because he uses as scooter. And a private tour would be too much $$. What a wonderful memory you have of your trip with your mom! That is special!

      And thank’s for the heads up on the typo!! It takes a village… 🙂

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  4. You are a brave soul, AGMA. With the crazy stuff in the Middle East and being open to wearing a thong in the Turkish Baths — you’re my hero!

    I guess I need to keep reading positive books like “Factfulness: 10 Reasons We’re Wrong About the World –And Why Things Are Better Than You Think” — a Bill Gates pick — which my husband recommended and we both enjoyed. Maybe it helps shake off fear of exotic travel.

    We have friends that rave about Turkey. Your link to the Hamam baths — what a beautiful place — looks SO relaxing.

    BTW: Did you see a lot of cats in Turkey? The reason I ask: went to the Seattle International Film Fest last year and saw “Kedi.” It was a beautiful film about the Turkish people and their interactions with street cats. You and hubs and the grandkids might enjoy this film, AGMA. Happy Thanksgiving and I promise no Turkey jokes where the poor bird is implied. (I am no vegan — I honor the turkey by eating it and loving it with a dollop of cranberry sauce.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lots and lots of cats! All over! We took some photos of the more engaging ones…. Thanks for the heads up on the film. I would love to see it!

      I need to read that book! I am not fearless – I just have the ability to “forget” (most of the time) there is potential danger. But I did think about the attack on the Araturk Airport and in Sultanamet Square (which our hotel was on…) once or twice. At Araturk, you have to go through security as soon as you enter the main entrances. You can’t get to the airline counters without going through security! A pain, but I get it….
      But it’s ALL worth it for those Turkish Baths!!! Ha!

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