Day 24 - Australia vs Sri Lanka!

Istanbul Travel Blog

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Today was our last full day in Istanbul so it was our last chance to do some of the key Turkish activities.  The first of those was a Turkish Bath, or Hammam.  Mel lead us to a Hammam centrally located, just around the corner from the Grand Bazaar.  Whilst it is expensive by Turkish standards it is well enough run to make ones first Turkish bath experience to be less than terrifying.  There were a number of treatments available.  Starting from simple entrance and DIY scrub, to paying for a Turkish massage and then other extras like facials.  The girls all went for an elaborate treatment which would keep them busy for two hours.  Craig and I settled for the simple steam bath and massage. 

Sitting in the steam bath was pleasant enough but there was nothing pleasant about the massage, until it was over.  These Turkish masseuse seem to take pleasure in trying to hurt you.  My masseuse new enough English to introduce himself, ask my name and to ask if I liked the massage as he was drilling the whole weight of his body into my shoulder blade through the point of his elbow.  I couldn’t help but laugh.  Why did people pay money to be tortured like this.  That only seemed to spur him on to hurt me more.  He eventually forced all the laughter out of me and then a grunt or two of paint, before excusing me and Craig and I know in no uncertain terms that we should tip him on the way out. 

With the whole experience behind us the Turkish massage actually felt good and Craig and I decided we’d earnt the right to a beer while we waited for the girls to finish their treatment.  We wandered along the length of the main road in search of a pub which would play the cricket later that afternoon.  We found an English pub which said they’d play the game and then sat down for a beer with a couple of old Aussie guys we met there, who had been involved as volunteers helping set up and run the Dawn Service at Gallipoli. 

As soon as our beers were drained we were out the door and back up the road to meet up with the girls, who seemed very happy with their treatments.  The only complaint they seemed to have was that the massage wasn’t vigorous enough.  Either the ladies don’t get the same massage as the boys or I don’t give Michelle anywhere near enough credit for being tough!!

We passed the early part of the afternoon in the Grand Bazaar.  Michelle bought a glass lantern and Craig, Rebecca, Mel and Tovey also purchased a number of souvenirs.  At 4pm, Michelle and Tovey left to go shopping at Taksim, on the other side of the river and the remaining four of us went in search of the cricket.  We returned to the English Pub and paid 8 YTL each for our beers. Ouch!!  The start was rain delayed, making the beers seem extra expensive.  Whilst there I bumped into Josh Hienen, which gave me the chance to talk footy.  During our second round and just after the start of the match, one of Josh’s mates called him to let him know there was a pub playing the match down the road and they were selling large beers for 3 YTL.  Bargain!!  We stormed out of the over priced English pub and raced down the road to the small, busy little local pub which had the game playing on the top two floors.  

The drinks flowed as freely as boundaries with Adam Gilchrist at the crease and we ducked out for a great meal during the innings break.  The slow, drawn out pace of the game and the inevitability of the Australian victory meant I left before the conclusion of the match, which was probably a good thing given the farcical end to it all.  The extra sleep would be needed though, as Michelle and I were to be flying to Egypt tomorrow.
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photo by: Memo