Saturday, March 26, 2011

Turkish Hamam

Recently, while cruising around on the internet I happened upon some paintings of Jean-Léon Gérôme, who was a French painter and sculptor in the style now known as Academicism.  He did a lot of traveling and went to Turkey in 1853.  I was drawn to his paintings that depict the baths in these areas:

I was anxious to try a Turkish bath when I was in Turkey.  I did not see any Hookahs in the bath we went to.  We first went to an outdoor mudbath.  It was a warm spring with rushing water and a good deal of fine mud which we applied all over and then rested in the sun while it dried.
 After showering and enjoying some watermelon in the shade, we went to the Turkish Hamam.  The baths.  

After leaving our clothes in the dressing room, we venture forth with a Turkish towel wrapped around our swimsuit to the baths.  We are given bowls to pour water over ourselves and get drenched.  It is warm in the baths and then we rest on the warm marble.  At first it seems quite warm, almost hot, but after resting a while, it feels wonderfully relaxing and we are melting into the warm marble.
The chamber echoes as we trade desultory comments.

Next the men, dressed in towels, come in to wash us.  We get scrubbed with a rough cloth about like a loofah. Scrub, scrub scrub.  We are so relaxed, we are pretty much putty in their hands.  The next step, is a foam bath.  Clouds of foam are applied to our fresh tingling skin.  The bubbles pop like champagne on our baby-fresh skin.  It is a delightful sensation.

We are left to rest, again, as long as we like on the wonderful warm marble with bubbles popping, blissed out in the bath area with no sound but the echo of a drip, perhaps, and the shafts of sunlight playing  through the room.

Next question is "Would you like a massage?"  We had decided in advance that the answer to this question would be yes, but I think few would be able to say no at this point.  If you go to Turkey, this is an experience not to be missed!

1 comment:

ParisBreakfasts said...

I never was a huge fan of Gerome but you've changed my mind easily.
Most certainly YES to Turkish baths.