The Lure of Turkish Baths
A few years ago, my husband had to make a business trip to Georgia (the country, not the state), and no direct flights from our area to that part of Europe, we chose Istanbul, Turkey as our stop-over point. While we’d visited Antalya (known as a tourist area on the Mediterranean), we’d not been to any other part of the country. Istanbul did not disappoint. The people were very friendly, the food delicious, and the shopping incredible. We purchased way too much in the Grand Bazaar, but luckily they sold suitcases, too.
Not far from the Grand Bazaar, we passed a doorway with a sign advertising a “Three-Hundred-Year-Old Turkish Bath.” To a Sherlockian, this was a must-see stop. In two different Sherlock Holmes tales, these baths—all the rage in Victorian England—were mentioned at the beginning of the adventure. In one, Holmes notes how he found himself more “open” from the experience, but in an earlier tale, he thought a regular bath at home was better.
While I didn’t pay for a treatment (being from Texas, I have a thing about heat and sweating—I try to avoid it), they did allow us to look around in the front part of the facility. The center was an open courtyard complete with a fountain. Around the sides were private, curtained lounging areas for relaxing after “taking the heat.” I couldn’t help but imagine a towel-robed Holmes and Watson reclining on the long, striped chairs, discussing their latest case.
To read more about this and other aspects of Sherlock Holmes’ life, check out Dr. Sherwood-Fabre’s series on “The Life and Times of Sherlock Holmes.” Volume Three has just been released, and the first two are now available in eBook as a box set.