Pilates Retreat: Day 3 (Hamam)

No earthquakes to report today. Thankfully. And while you might think that the experience of having lived through an earthquake – noticed or not – might keep one up at night with a tad bit of apprehension, the truth is said one slept like the drugged. In fact, when one is not doing Pilates or eating, one is sleeping.

I don’t know when ‘one’ has ever slept so much.

Day’s Routine:
The mornings start off with a nice, slow jog along the glassy lake. And when I say slow jog, I mean sloooooooow. I am not understating facts (toddlers have outrun me). After the jog, it’s time for Pilates. After Pilates, comes breakfast. After breakfast, sun time (not too much as I am still trying to atone for my 9AM-6PM sun worshipping I did from the age of 12 to 20…pretty sure it’s too late, but one can always try).

Then? Snoozing time in the shade. For hours. Basically I sleep until I need to get ready for the next Pilates session.

I wish I could say this was due to the intense activity level we are keeping.

But that would be a lie.

Oh, well. I am not going to second guess the will of the Gods (i.e. the extent of my self-indulgence). I do feel a bit guilty about not dedicating more time to meditation and getting all zen (I am on a retreat, after all). Or sightseeing (what there is to see). Email would even be a tad more productive.

But, I don’t do any of the above. I sleep.

I did fit in a bit of culture this evening. After the PM Pilates session, the four of us went to a Turkish Hamam. (BTW, the other two ladies are very nice and have not once cast dirty looks my way when I need to be told for the zillionth time to keep hip bones down, shoulders down…they, as well as my angelic instructor, are very patient.)

Scene at Turkish Hamam:
Enter extremely spacious steam room (after changing into swim suits and towels…we are going on co-ed night…even without the ‘co’, there are 3 Brits and 1 American…does anyone think that swimsuits would be optional here?).

In the middle of the domed room is a large, marble slab with a mosaic pattern. The circumference of the room has marble benches and spigots where one can fill up buckets with water with which to rinse / cool off. We are asked to lie down on the marble slab.

First comes exfoliation: we are rubbed down with a rough, loofah-like glove. Then, buckets are thrown over us to rinse us off. After our rinse, a cascade of soap bubbles produced from what looks like a pillowcase descends upon us and we get thoroughly scrubbed (they’ll even wash your hair). Then, we are rinsed again. You can then choose to hang out in the steam room, get a massage, or take some refreshments outside. To summarize the entire experience: it’s like returning to infancy.

(Note: I am being purposefully less descriptive than I could be. A Turkish Hamam experience – like that of a Russian sauna – is one of those things better experienced in person. Preferably, in ignorance. Too much information and you might shy away from doing it. Suffice it to say, the experience is amazing. As Nike says, ‘just do it.’)

After the hamam, we went to a lovely restaurant with small streams, bridges, and canopied tables. We thought the waiter spoke English but, based on the huge platters of meat, salad, rice, potatoes, and side dishes of eggplant, yoghurt, and other unidentified goodies that he brought to us, he obviously did not understand our request for ‘a mix of dishes but not too much food for we dainty ladies of delicate appetites.’

All I can say is that it was a good thing he didn’t stick his hand in the middle of our feeding frenzy. The food was G-O-N-E.

(Hmmm, maybe he did understand English after all.)

And after dinner?

Sleep.

Again.

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