|I was too tired and relaxed to journal last night. 9 of us women and 4 of the men went to a Turkish bath (details to follow).
Began our journey from Konya to Antalya around 9:00. The drive took us through agricultural and industrial regions, over the mountain range...about the height of our Cascades...and down into the Mediterranean, tropical area. Beautiful scenery with lots of road construction. Turkey's economy is booming so we see lots of work on improving the infrastructure and the outskirts of the cities have fields full of new high rise apartment construction. The mountains still had a few spots of snow. Saw lots of areas where they had planted fir trees. On the east side of the mountains we saw many rural farms with sheep and cows (always attended by a herder...no fences). Each farm had a garden area that was hand tilled. We saw mainly women tending the gardens. There were small areas of land that had been cleared and planted with grains and they were edged with the white stone they had picked from the fields. Reminded me of England. We also passed some chicken farms and aluminum plants...whatever they make aluminum from is abundant in these mountains. At the summit we stopped to explore a cave and have lunch. The Tinaztepe Cavern is about a mile long. It had very high ceilings with stalactites and stalagmites and a pristine crystal blue lake at the end. Wonderful walk to break up our ride! Lunch was cafeteria style...but instead of us going along a buffet of food, they brought dishes to the tables and we just pointed and nodded if we wanted the offering! Wonderful bread, honey comb honey, fresh tomato soup, and chopped salad were my choices. Got to sample someone else's rice pudding!
Once we crossed over the summit we descended into a more tropical climate zone. Immediate temperature change...warmer and more humid. This area is famous for its Citris fruits and nuts. The orange is the symbol of the city of Antalya...and they are delicious beyond belief! They also have pomegranate orchards. And Alp said the rivers have gold in them so this area is also a huge jewelry producer.
Traffic is a nightmare. I wish I could take a picture that would give a real sense of the insanity of it all! Once we entered the city it took over an hour to get to the hotel. We would move half a bus length per light change! We are situated in the heart of the old city so the bus could only get us close. We walked our luggage on cobble stoned streets through Hadrian's Gate to reach our hotel...quaint, old, and charming! Had a guided old city tour that ended at a seafood restaurant overlooking the Mediterranean! Life is good...so was the wine and fish!
Okay...here's the scoop on the Turkish bath! We were all very hesitant but decided we were here so let's go for it! When we arrived to the "spa", we were greeted by two Muslim ladies in traditional dress. Once inside we saw several women in black bra's and black short shorts. We actually thought they were clients in swim suits...naive us...they worked in the spa. Next we undressed in a small room that had a huge window in the door...some privacy! Locked our belongings, wrapped ourselves in thin towels and were ushered into a large vaulted granite room that had a huge granite stone table...it was at least 15 feet across. They take your towel and lay it on the warm stone and tell you to lie face down on it. Then they throw warm water over you and you sweat! So picture 9 of us (all first-timers at a Turkish bath) with our heads in the center of this circle nervously giggling like at a slumber party! And wondering what is coming next. They took groups of four to the next room where your towel is again under you on a stone slab and they rub your entire body with a lufa mitt. You then sit up and they pour huge bowls of warm water over you to rinse off all the dead skin they have lufaed off! Then you proceed to the other side of the room and again lie down on your wrung out towel. This time they was your entire body with warm, sudsy foam. When you are finished with this step, they again pour warm water all over you to rinse the suds. Your skin feels amazingly clean and soft. As you exit this room, you are wrapped in a dry towel and invited to sit and have a cup of apple tea. Then there is music and a little Turkish dancing (they expected us to participate) before going upstairs for the final part of the treatment. Again you give up your towel! They drizzle warm oil on you and you have a total body massage...heavenly if it would have been longer. The whole experience felt a bit rushed since they were pushing 9 of us through in an hour. I think the real deal would have been an hour for each person...we got the tourist version. So there you have it...a turkish bath. Cost...about $50. I am glad for the experience but a massage at home is better...my opinion.