Our only goal for the day was to get a Turkish bath. My friend Christy was there last summer, so she sent us directions to the place she went to along with some pictures, which we recreated for ourselves and I will share with you here. The bath we went to is about a 10-15 minute walk from the port, where you'll see a big sign welcoming you to the country:
Go through the first round of touristy shops to the only major road, which veers to the left. Just after the veer, on the right-hand side is the Souvenir Bazaar, which is an outdoor shopping area - head that way. Not surprisingly this is where we bought our souvenirs.
When the road dead-ends (conveniently, at Lisa Cafe & Bar!), turn right and go up the hill.
The Turkish bath place is just up the hill on the right-hand side. They aren't too creative with naming, but at least you know you're at the right place ;) Christy, we took these pictures just for you!
We headed up the creepy looking stairs into a dark room for our bath. Obviously, pictures are not allowed inside. Which is a very very good thing, because the bath was one of the most embarrassing experiences in my life...so this story might be TMI for some of you, but it's too funny not to share.
We expected the bath to be similar to going to a spa here in the U.S. - head to a private room, strip, let them bathe you, and voila, you are done. No big deal, right? Wrong.
The Turkish bath man (not sure what their "title" is? bather?) handed us towels and led us into a changing room where they provided a locker with a key so we could keep our stuff safe during the bath. We undressed and came back out in just our towels, and followed the bath man into a marble stone sauna room. He then asked us for our towels, and we looked rather questionably at each other as we told him we were naked underneath our towels....this conversation took place just as we were walking through the doorway and saw that it was an open sauna area. As in, with other people, and to my dismay - a lovely little family with two teenage boys. SO. Our Turkish bather was none too happy with us, and told us to go put on our "bikinis". Of course, we did not bring our bathing suits. He just grunted and shook his head, and told us to put on our underwear. And then he grunted and shook his head some more when I told him I didn't even have a bra. As you can see in the picture above, this was the one day of the entire trip that I chose to wear a tube top with a built-in liner. Awesome.
We went back to the changing room and returned to the sauna, Bo in his boxers and me in a see-through lace thong. Again, awesome. Thankfully the Turkish bath man let me keep my towel on - for now. So we sat rather uncomfortably in a tiny marble sauna room with this poor family who I'm sure thought we were crazy Americans. To make matters worse, they didn't even speak English to understand our apologies.
About 20 minutes later, the Turkish man brought all six of us into the bathing room - together. We all took turns being bathed up on a marble table in front of everyone else (all of them, of course, were wearing bathing suits...), and for this I had to take my towel off. Those teenage boys got quite a show. The Turkish man didn't say a peep to anyone during their baths until it was my turn, when he smirked at me and asked "so, where you from?" aahhhh... Bo and I got a pretty good laugh out of the whole thing, and thank goodness that family was not on our cruise ship!
I will say, aside from the fact that I was practically naked in a room full of decently clothed people, the bath was amazing. They rub you down with some kind of exfoliating peel and then lather you in foam. They even wash your hair! I have never felt so clean and refreshed. I would definitely do it again, although I would bring a bathing suit just in case :)
After our bath, they wrapped us up in big fluffy towels, gave us hot tea, and took our picture.
And with that, we were done with Kusadasi. We both wore khaki shorts that day, which got drenched by our soaking underwear, so we looked pretty silly heading back to the ship. :) There were some ancient ruins nearby in Ephesus, but we didn't think they would top the Acropolis in Athens so we passed on that. We also considered walking over to the Fortress of Kusadasi which was right next to the port, but decided a picture from the pool deck on the boat would suffice.
|Fortress of Kusadasi|
It was definitely a funny story to share with all of our cruise friends that night. Based on their experiences, we were somewhat relieved to learn that we weren't completely crazy - plenty of Turkish baths are more like what we were expecting, and some of them you don't even have an option except to go nude. Our cruise friends had some rather crazy stories, too - one guy asked for a shave, and after they cleaned up his beard and mustache they stuck hot wax up his nose and in his ears to completely clean him out! Imagine that kind of shock! Haha. So, lessons learned: bring a bathing suit and a change of clothes, and ask exactly what services are included in your treatments!
Despite the embarrassment we still enjoyed our brief time there, however we don't plan on returning. Thanks for the laughs, Kusadasi!!