Off Base Adventures: Erciyes & Kayseri – Skiing In Turkey…Who Knew?

When I thought Turkey, the idea of snow covered mountains and downhill skiing never crossed my mind. And after surviving the winter in South Dakota, that was A OK with me! 
But as it turns out, there are such things as snowflakes in Turkey. A lot of them actually, if you know where to look.

Last weekend Will wanted a go at skiing Mount Erciyes, the highest mountain in central Anatolia, and an inactive volcano.

You can actually ski from the edge of the volcano crater down. Well you could if the runs were open, which was not the case this time. 

The biggest difference to note compared to the slopes we experienced back in the states, was the lack of trees. 
A few hours later, Will had had his fill and we headed inside to try our first traditional Turkish specialty, pide.

We had pide once before, but it wasn’t made in the classic way, which in when it is made to resemble a pizza that has been stretched lengthwise, and minus the red sauce. 
We got this whole thing and two bottled waters for 9.50 TL! That’s about $4.08!! If we had known it would be that cheap we would have ordered a couple of them 🙂
But we should have known, because unlike the racked up crazy prices to ski in America, Will’s day pass was only about $20!

Our little snowbaby 🙂

That afternoon it was my turn to get in on the action. We stayed at the Ommer Hotel in Kayseri, about 30 minutes from the ski area, which was also home to a great spa. We had yet to experience a turkish bath and decided there is no time like the present. 
I had read and heard stories about turkish baths, but really outside of knowing it involved laying on a concrete or marble slab and having someone rub down your naked body, I was pretty clueless what to expect. 
I soon learned that my previous knowledge was pretty spot on. I followed the attendant into the room pictured above, wearing nothing but what I believed to be a child-sized turkish towel (she had conveniently used two towels for herself), where I watched her lay down a towel on the circular marble slab, then roll another one up for my head, before finally pouring water from a copper pitcher she had fill from one of the little sinks, and instructing me to lay down.
Once I was in position she removed my scrap of a towel, folded it up and laid it over my chest, then placed another rolled up towel over my nether region, then again poured water all over me. 
At this point she began the scrubbing, which involved donning a little exfoliating glove, and proceeding to quite literally scrub every square inch of my body, minus the small area of my lower lady parts (the upper was apparently free game). I’m talking she even scrubbed the insides of my ears.
As I laid there with her crawling all over the place to scrub me down, I pondered who the person was that first came up with this concept, and what kind of person they had to be to require someone to bathe them. Were they just to lazy to run a cloth over themselves? It is such hard work, raising your own arms and whatnot.
By the time she was finished I knew without a doubt that there was not a single cell of dead skin residing anywhere on my body. She poured water over me one last time to wash away all the grime, then offered for me to bathe if I wanted, and brought me soap and shampoo.
I won’t say it was the most relaxing experience. A hard marble slab and having your skin shredded off isn’t exactly on the level with a soft massage table and having oils rubbed into your skin. But as a person who exfoliates daily with a pumice stone, I really enjoyed the thorough treatment. My skin was soft as a baby’s butt, and I doubt I’ve ever been so clean. I would totally do it again!
There was an option for the full experience involving being soaped down after the scrubbing, but we opted out this time. Gotta save something for the next adventure 😉

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