Istanbul, Turkey – June 2006

The Blue Mosque (from the Marmara Terrace at the Mavi Ev Restaurant)

The Blue Mosque (from the Marmara Terrace at the Mavi Ev Restaurant)

Another business trip with a weekend of sightseeing… 🙂  Arrived into Istanbul and immediately fell in love with the place (despite the truly horrendous traffic!) 😉

The turks are an incredibly friendly people and despite staying in the European part of Istanbul, the Asian influences were everywhere…  Istanbul is a melting pot of cultures, food and customs, being at the geographical meeting of Asia and the West…   it was also very cool starting a conversation on the phone with someone when I was in Europe, then crossing the bridge over the Bosphorus and being able to tell them “hey, I’m now in Asia” 🙂

The Blue Mosque and St Sophia Mosque (now a museum) were beautiful…  spent a lot of time walking around Istanbul, the mosques, Taksim Square, the Grand Bazaar and the Dolmabahce Palace taking in all the cultural differences..

I went for a a proper turkish bath and massage in the oldest turkish bath (hamami) still in operation (built in 1584). The Cemberlitas Hamami was very impressive and looked like a mosque inside…  A relaxing start with a huge muscle bound turkish bouncer-type washing me down with buckets of hot water, followed by a soaping down with masses of soft soap bubbles… he then proceeded to give me a harsh skin rub (with what felt like a scouring pad!) to remove all the dead skin… not that unpleasant….  then another wash down with lashings of hot water poured from wooden buckets… bliss 🙂  ..then the peace and tranquility were shattered and the ‘real treatment’ started…   it was AGONY! 😉   I have never come so close to screaming the roof down in my entire life… 😉   …these guys know all the pain points and all the pressure points in your body and know ‘exactly’ where to push…  after 20 minutes of this I was completely and utterly exhausted… 😉   …this was followed by another wash down with hot soap suds and another few buckets of water to rinse off….   Luckily, the end of the treatment was considerably more relaxing – just what you needed after the turkish bouncer-type treatment! 😉

I could barely manage a second Gin and Tonic and I slept the sleep of a 1000 people that night!!! 😉     It must have been good…. as I went back 2 nights later for another one…  🙂   Just BRILLIANT! 🙂

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