Once again visiting my favourite city in the world, Istanbul. My colleague Raya and I are here for a network meeting on our video project. Due to cheaper flights we came already yesterday and therefore have spent yesterday evening meeting friends and just spending time together.
I tested a hamam last week in Casablanca and decided to go to one again today. I love it. I must say - apologies for my unpatriotic approach - that I like the hamam much more than a Finnish sauna. In the hamam the temperature is not that high and you sweat much more. In the Turkish ones they have managed to turn it into a service with scrubs and massage and so forth.
The hamam is always gender-divided. On the men's section the atmosphere is a lot of fun. The old men seem to enjoy telling younger - especially tourist - men what they should do and where to go. What I love is that the instructions are never in English. And why should they? The men washing you just tap you on the back when you have turn around and the others point with their finger where to go.
I was a bit intimidated by the stories I have heard about the harsh massage. And the stories were accurate. I heard crunches unfamiliar to me when the middle-aged man was pressing my back. But now, after two hours, I must say that I feel fantastic.
This is what they should do also in the Nordic countries. Make public saunas clean and offer different treatments for a decent price.
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