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Pole to Pole

Day 44: Istanbul

Istanbul, Turkey 
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Istanbul: massage Ó la Turk.
Michael Palin - Pole to PoleThen it's my turn on the broad inlaid marble massage slab called the Gobek Tasi. I'm rubbed, stretched and at one point mounted and pulled up by my arms before being taken off and soaped all over by a masseur who keeps saying 'Good?' in a tone which brooks no disagreement. He dons a sinister black glove the size of a baseball mitt. (The brochure describes it as 'a handknitted Oriental washing cloth', but it feels like a Brillo pad.) Never have I been so thoroughly scoured. The dirt and skin roll off me like the deposits from a school rubber. How can I have been so filthy and not know about it?

There is a small bar giving on to an open courtyard at the back of the hammam. Sitting here with a glass of raki and a bowl of grapes luxuriating in the afterglow of the bath at the end of a long day, I feel as content as I ever could.

The last news of the day is that the port of Tallinn, which we entered three weeks ago, has been closed by a blockade.
Istanbul, Turkey 
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Istanbul: massage Ó la Turk.
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  • Series: Pole to Pole
  • Day: 44
  • Country/sea: Turkey
  • Place: Istanbul
  • Book page no: 99

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