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Cleaning ourselves the traditional way

This morning there was still no water. That settled it: today’s schedule had to be rejigged to start with a visit to a hamam.
Jude had found that the Suleymaniye was just for families. So we off we set, not really knowing what to expect.
This hamam was designed in the 16th century by Sinan, probably Istanbul’s greatest architect.
We entered the big entrance hall and were ushered up to carpeted changing rooms. Ed emerged dressed in a bath towel, Jude had put on the shorts and bikini top provided, covered with drapes. One look at the size of the bikini top and i opted for my swimming costume as the foundation garment.
We passed through a couple of ante chambers, each progressively warmer, to the heart of the hamam: a beautiful room with the heated slab as the centrepiece.
There we sweated it out for about half an hour, hopefully sweating out the toxins, periodically sluicing bowls of water over ourselves and each other.
By the end I was definitely feeling a bit overcome. So was Ella, who stuck it out but did not add it to her list of favourite experiences.
Then the (male) attendants arrived: a strong serious Asian for Ed, a good looking young man for Jude and a kindly, considerate one for me. Ed was ushered off to a different chamber while Jude and I adjourned to another (children are not allowed to be treated)
Feeling like a lump of meat, I was helped into my marble slab and the attend rubbed, scrubbed and washed me head to toe in a mass of lather. At this point (whenJude was covered in lather) Maddie, suddenly and justifiably announced she wanted out. The young attendant saved the day by dousing the girls in a sack of foam – and better still carried out the much needed hair wash effortlessly.
Washed, rinsed and squeaky clean we adjourned to the cooler if the warm rooms and finished with drinks all round.
A strange experience and undoubtedly laid on for tourists, but I’m glad to have done it once, in a beautiful building In service as a himam for centuries.
Time for lunch before tackling the next activity. We took potluck on a cafe which turned out to be distinctly tacky and language barriers caused confusion. But the view of the Bosporus was good, the food not bad (though we had no idea what we had ordered) and Ella and Maddie loved their ice creams.

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