Bazaars and Baths

After a long night of dancing our booties off, Katherine and I only had one thing on our agenda for the following day: a relaxing, cleansing Turkish bath. However, discovering that those are better to have later in the day, we decided to hit up the famed Grand Bazaar in the meantime. Picturing it to be a chaotic, bustling market filled with beautiful jewelry, clothes, and shoppers bartering, it turned out to be quite underwhelming. The bazaar was quiet and not very crowded, and it felt more like a glorified mall than a flea market. Unimpressed, we moved on to the spice market nearby, which was pretty cool, and street markets in the surrounding area. While these were slightly more interesting, there was still a lack of cute clothes or accessories. Hungry by now, Katherine and I stumbled upon a random, small restaurant in the middle of the market. It turned out to have delicious, authentic Turkish cuisine and probably some of the best food that we had on the trip. 

Afterward, we found ourselves at a large, beautiful mosque that actually looked like the Blue Mosque. We decided to go inside, and it was even better than its famed counterpart. The two were designed quite similarly, but there was hardly anyone at this mosque. It was so peaceful and serene, and confirmed my belief that Muslims win at architecture. 

Later on, it was time for our Turkish baths. Hoping for a relaxing experience, it ended up being more… interesting than anything else. The place that we went to was definitely not a tourist spot, and none of the staff really spoke English. They ushered us into a large, marble sauna room and just left us in there. Katherine and I were confused about what we were supposed to do, so we had to ask them again. One of the women came in and laughingly demonstrated how to lie down on this marble slab in the middle of the room, and told us to stay in there for 20 minutes. So we put our towels down and lied on the slab, and it was extremely hot. There were various little fountains where one could wash of one’s face with cold water to prevent passing out. Finally, the actual bath part of the experience started. I went into this room where an older Turkish woman with only her lacy underwear on washed, scrubbed, and massaged me. And when I say that she only had her underwear on, I mean that her saggy boobs were on full, unabashed display. Afterward, she told me to go back into the sauna, which made no sense to me; why would I want to go into a sauna and get sweaty all over again when I just got washed? 

At least my skin felt amazingly soft afterward.

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The Grand Bazaar

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The beautiful mosque

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