chapter lx

Posts Tagged ‘hamam

Last day in Istanbul, and a wonderful and full day. I wasn’t feeling very well this morning, but had a simple breakfast and tried to stay hydrated, and by mid-day was feeling better. I walked down to the pier to see about a sunset cruise on the Bosphorous, which sounds lovely, and then went down to Aya Sofya and the Blue Mosque. Aya Sofya is awesome, just the sheer size of it for starters. The dome is 34 meters tall, it was built in 537, and for nearly 1000 years was the largest cathedral in the world, until it became a mosque in 1435. The icons are beautiful and the stonework incredible. Truly a holy place.

The Blue Mosque is across a large square from Aya Sofya, and rivals it in magnificence. It has intricate blue tiles, and many blue windows. Again, a holy place with so much history of worship. My camera has been kinky this whole trip, and stopped working in Aya Sofya, said the battery needs charging, but I just charged it a couple days ago, and sometimes has been giving a message “lens error”. I don’t know what’s going on with it, but resorted to┬átaking photos with the iPhone and I really don’t like how they come out, but better than nothing. We’ll see when I get home and have a good look at all of them.

I then spent the next few hours talking to a man in his rug shop. Only started talking because there was a row of old colorful wooden houses that I stopped to photograph. He asked

if I would like to see his rugs – they all do, and I made it clear that I was not going to buy a rug, but appreciate the beauty of old carpets, and know a little something about them. He took me downstairs where they keep the old ones, and they were all beautiful, such careful work, natural dyes, real wool and patterns that were each unique. I told him I was on my way to the hamam at Cemberlitas, and he wrote a note to the owner to treat me well. He had just returned from a trip to Canada, and likes Canadians a lot. He said the best time to go though is 7, so that you go home and have a good sleep. That put an end to the Bosphorous cruise, but next time. So we sat and drank tea for awhile longer, and it was about six, so I went to the hamam, and he said he would meet me after for tea. Then we went to a pipe house, and smoked apple tobacco, and I had a mint, rose and lemon tea, and then dinner. It was nice to spend time with a Turkish man who was just nice and wanted to show me some of Istanbul without an agenda. The hamam was wonderful, lying there and being washed, massaged, lathered with rose soap, rinsed, into the jacuzzi, very relaxing. It reminded me of the mud baths in California, just letting all the tension and tiredness go.

My flight tomorrow is already delayed a couple hours, although they say to be there as though it is leaving on time, as if. I just hope that the long connect time I made for the flight to Halifax doesn’t shrink. It is down to 1-1/2 hours now. I am sorry to be leaving, it has been an enjoyable time. One of the advantages of traveling alone is the chance to talk to many people. It has been fun.