When my daughter, Ayla, came home from Australia yesterday and handed me a Turkish towel as her gift, I knew what I had to write about today.
Americans are not so familiar with Turkish towels – they are all the rage in Australia. Pictures don’t do them justice. They are wonderful. Before we get to that, her gift also brought me back to the time we traveled to Istanbul, just the two of us. We were in Tel Aviv and we decided to take the short trip from Tel Aviv to Istanbul, a city on my bucket list.
Visiting a Turkish bath was one of the highlights of that wondrous trip to Istanbul, a city that bombards you with tastes and smells, ancient and modern, chaos and mystery. We walked with trepidation to Cagaloglu Hamami. It was built in 1741 by Sultan Mahmut, and is a gorgeous place.
Basically you strip down and are assigned a masseuse and a loofa glove. These are strong, very large (and mostly naked!), experienced, no-nonsense masseuses like you have never experienced. Women of every shape and nationality have their spot on the marble floor. The ritual involves washing and scrubbing, not a light touch. They spin you around on the smooth marble like you are made of rubber. I kept trying to peak at Ayla to check if she was ok! Then strong hoses are used to rinse you off, again being pulled and spun like a top, sliding on the marble.
Besides being so aesthetically pleasing, these towels are so practical. They are made of deliciously soft cotton. They pack up nice and small. You can use it as a beach towel, a picnic blanket, a scarf or a sarong. They beckon thoughts of the Sultans and marble baths and the wondrous universality of life, the old and the new.
Mark my words, these towels will become as ubiquitous here in the states as they are in Australia, so I am giving you a hot tip ;-). You can find them, of course, on Amazon. Be sure they are the pure Turkish cotton. Summer is approaching! Let me know what you think.