Back in home away from home!

Trip Start May 31, 2007
Trip End May 20, 2008

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Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Arrived back in Istanbul on the 8th for a repeat of the fabulous ferry ride I experienced during the conclusion of my last trip.  Stepping off the ferry brought me feelings of arriving at a familiar face...not quite home but a place I could see myself visiting again and again.  Did a few housekeeping things as they say and then took off to enjoy an afternoon at the local hamam with my tourmate and fellow American Pam.  I had been looking forward to this visit with much anticipation as the Cašalošlu Hamami is world renowned and listed in the 1001 places you mush visit before you die!  According to the Lonely Planet, it was built over three centuries ago and is one of the city's most beautiful hamams.  It boasts (without evidence) that King Edward VIII, Kaiser Wilhem II, Franz Liszt,Cameron Diaz and Florence Nightingale have enjoyed its pleasures.  There are separate baths for each sex and the architecture is magnificent...and the sense of history unmatched in my limited hamam experience.  We paid for the deluxe service which went a little something like this!  We were led to a changing area and each got our own locking room.  You undress and wrap this miniscule blue sheet around you and head into the main steam room.  This room is clad in elaborate milky white veined marble with a majestic dome overhead studded with small glass windows that direct the sun's rays down onto the central marble slab below.  Our personal attendant has us lay down on the slab parallel to the edge and then she proceeded to use a rough mitt to scrub away at all of our skin in a furious manner watching as dark flaky dirty skin is sloughed off that you did not even know that you had!  Then a rinse and then the soap massage followed by another rinse and then a second massage but this time with a loofah towel and soap.  Followed by yet another rinse, a scalp massage and hair wash and comb..which for all of you who know my tender scalp was quite amusing at times...  At this point we were left to regroup, rinse, relax and dress.  We moved back into the dressing area and enjoyed a tea and a water and left feeling quite amazing..and perhaps a bit like modern day royalty!

After a bit of rest we hopped on the ferry to Eyup which is located along the Golden Horn.  We had a tea and took in the view then walked back to the town through the hillside terraced Eyup Sultan Mezarligi (Cemetery of the Great Eyup).  This was right around sunset so we saw quite a view of Istanbul as the light dimmed.  Took the ferry back, watching as the lights of the illuminated buildings reflected along the water.
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