Haven’t we all dreamt of this possibility at some time in our lives? Maybe you had two parties to attend or wanted to be on holiday while at work. There is a holiday destination, which offers just that: Istanbul, Turkey. Half of the city is in Europe and the other half, across the river, is in Asia.
This city is an ideal long weekend getaway as there is plenty to do and lots of shopping to be done! We started our day off pretty early thanks to our early flight. Once we had dropped our things off at the hotel we took a short walk to the iconic Blue Mosque, one of the biggest mosques in the world. It’s actual name is the Sultan Ahmed Mosque after the Sultan who built it but it is known as the blue mosque for the blue tiles inside of the dome. There was a queue but it wasn’t too long a wait. We had to take off our shoes and put on robes to cover our shoulders and legs as is customary in Islamic culture. The inside was beautiful and I have never walked on such a luscious carpet before either.
From there, just across the road, is Hagia Sophia which used to be an orthodox basilica and is now a museum. Before it became a museum it was converted to a mosque so there are many Christian and Islamic symbols all around the building. It was interesting to see but definitely did not compare to the Blue Mosque.
Of course no journey to Turkey can be complete without a visit to a Turkish bath. There are many to choose from but i would suggest spending a little bit more and going to a really nice one, after all it’s not like you would bath that way every day, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. Once we had paid we were given a body scrubber, a sarong of sorts and disposable underwear. The changing rooms are lavish and you get your own locker to store your belongings. As you are basically naked, the Turkish baths are separated by sex. The staff in each bath is also of the same sex, putting you at ease. As we walked in a woman approached us and asked if we wanted to be washed. Not knowing what to expect, I said yes, and the next thing I knew she had whipped off my sarong leaving me standing there in my underwear. My mother could not stop laughing. She said she will never forget the expression on my face.
I lay down and proceeded to get scrubbed down from head to toe, rolling over in the middle. She then washed my hair for me and we were left to swim in the heated pool or just to enjoy the steam in the bath. As shocked as I was, it was absolutely fantastic and if I could bath that way every day, I would!