In her book, 1000 Places To See Before You Die, the author has listed the Turkish bath known as Çemberlitas Hammam, as one of her must-see places. I intended to visit, for a bit of indulgence, at a bath where people have been getting soapy and clean since 1584. However, when I learned that there was a hammam in our hotel in Cappadocia, I decided to use it, mostly because I didn’t fancy the idea of getting all steamy in Istanbul and then come out into the cold night air and make my way back to our guesthouse. After relaxing in the heat, I wanted to be able to walk a few steps and fall into bed.
I had visited hammams when I traveled in North Africa in the early 1970s, but I knew that these ones are run now for the tourists and the experience would be quite different. I would have loved to visit a traditional Turkish bath that is used by local women, but that would prove difficult in the big city. Besides, I’m not sure how interested Anil would have been if he’d had to go into a segrated bath, men on one side and women on another, or at least separate sections for the men and women.
I opted for a package treatment that included a exfoliating scrub, a bubble massage, a facial mask, and a full body massage with aromatic oils. The hammam was built with no expense spared, and yet the package I selected was no more costly that a one hour basic massage back home in Canada. Not hard to indulge yourself at these prices. Karl joined us, but he has a bad back, so he just came to use the facilities to relax and did not allow anyone to ‘beat’ him up.
The experience was so wonderful, that I went again on our last night in Cappadocia. Anil felt he had been ‘beaten’ up enough after one treatment, and headed off to bed early. After two body scrubs with a rough mitt, if there was a single dead cell on skin on my body, I’d be ‘sorely’ surprised. There are many reasons to come to Turkey, but a visit to a traditional hammam should be near the top of the list.