Location | Cappadocia, Turkey
Until the other day everything we had done in Turkey – places we had to get to, the hostels we were staying at all seemed to work out perfectly in our favour. One could almost assume that if there is one thing we have learnt while in Turkey it’s that you can just almost always go with the flow and have it work out. And then there was our Olympos trip. We got on our bus at Fethyie, which by the way is beautiful, with Olympos as our destination. After travelling along the most beautiful Turkish coastline for about six hours we finally arrived at the top of the highway in Olympos. Just like every other bus we have gotten off on the side of the road. In the middle of nowhere. Yet again we seem to be ushered into a dolmus and off hopefully to our hostel. Like clockwork we seem to arrive at the door. Olympos is a beach side town which is iconic for having tree house accommodation. So we are shown to our room or should I say treehouse; clearly super excited, like we are staying in a treehouse. We get to our room and it’s a sauna. We are talking wooden box, don’t get us wrong it was super cool and ‘upcycle’, think childhood cubby house made of old doors and off cut pieces of tree. But like your childhood DIY cubby house, there wasn’t any windows or ventilation for that matter, and as for air conditioning… well it was none existent. To be honest we were only paying 13 euros per night so we probably shouldn’t have expected a whole lot, but it was hot and we’d been on a bus for six hours so we weren’t impressed with our sauna.
After careful consideration whilst sitting in the heat and trying to communicate with Turkish people that speak about three words of English and certainly cannot keep up with our talking pace, we decided to boycott Olympos. The following hours were long, painful and involved a bus trip we thought was 100m down the road, that turned out to be 2 hours and then an overnight bus from Antayla to our next destination Cappidocia. This is why when we arrived at our hotel/cave hybrid in Göreme, Cappadocia we were stoked there was a Turkish Haman close by.
We had been told various times that experiencing a Turkish bath was a definite while visiting Turkey – and we can happily second that opinion. It was quite an incredible process, unlike any other spa experience we have previously encountered. The Haman we visited whilst in Cappadocia had a really relaxed atmosphere, a place where women are openly embraced and celebrated as they are.
We both choose different treatments, TJ opted for a full traditional Turkish bath while Maddie, Tahlia and Lucy chose an oil massage. We were met by a sweet older lady who took us into the locker/change room and gave us the towels to change into – along with some funky little pink rubber slides. We sat in our towels and sipped on some apple tea whilst being lathered in a face mask, then we were promptly ushered into a sauna. A sauna that was 70 degrees Celsius aka very hot. After a 15 minute sweat session, we showered and jumped into a big pool. We soon parted ways while the girls went off to there oil massage. From here TJ experienced a traditional style of treatment which included a soap up and scrub down, followed by a massage.
Although we both had an enjoyable encounter it is unfortunate that the entire bath experience seemed more like a tourist attraction than a common practice for local Turkish woman. In saying this we thoroughly enjoyed our first Turkish Haman affair and although it may be a thing of the past for local woman we still enjoyed participating in their culture. Also, if your planning on having your own Haman experience whilst in Turkey, be sure to do it outside the main cities like Istanbul as it’s a lot cheaper ($30-$50).
M & TJ XO