I had never been happier to see someone walk down the hill as I was to see Scotty.
“Hey there,” he said. I didn’t even let him finish introductions before I grabbed him, pulling him into a hug and expressing just how glad I was he was there
I quickly filled him in on what had happened in Kusadasi and he immediately promised me I would be safe now, taken care of.
That night, I finally got some sleep. The next morning, I caught the Fez bus and we headed to Koygeicz, a lake town near the Aegean Sea. But first, we had to stop at a leather factory for a fashion show, and a ceramics factory for a demo and tour.
Once we arrived to Tango Hostel, we got our rooms sorted and made plans for the evening — a boat cruise on the lake, followed by a stop at the mud bath and thermal bath, then a little night swimming.
It sounded great, especially after the week I had prior.
About 12 of us boarded the boat after nightfall, clad in our suits and ready for a fun night out.
The captain on the little wooden boat mixed up some punch which was passed around, and we headed off to the baths.
Corinne, another tour guide who was on the bus with Scotty, and I sat together and talked about our experiences in Turkey. It was nice to tell someone my story and not be in the midst of it still.
It took about an hour to get to the baths, which by day produce a carnival-like atmosphere, packed with people, but at night create a serene and lovely place to get clean.
“You have to walk past the stones in the mud pit and then dig in,” Scotty instructed us as we walked tentatively into the clay.
I could feel the tiny stones digging into my feet, the sea grass brushing against my ankles and shins.
“Dig in!” Scotty once again instructed.
I reached down into the wet slop and grabbed a chunk of clay.
“Now, smear it all over you!”
After being thoroughly covered — from hair on my head to heels of my feet — I hopped out and sat on the bench, waiting for the mud to dry before washing it off of me.
About 20 minutes later, our group was jumping into the lake, a cloud of mud spreading like ink in the black waters.
The water lapped against me, cool, refreshing.
Then, we went into the thermal bath. It was similar to the one I went to in Budapest — it had the same sulfur smell — but tingled my skin more. Maybe because I was so clean from the mud?
The time passed midnight, and we all got back on the boat. On the way back to land, I stepped outside of the main seating area, onto the bow of the boat and looked up.
The most magnificent sky I had seen in years.
The Milkyway stretched before me.
In that moment, I had such a deep appreciation for where I was. Who I was. What I was doing. The experiences I had the days leading up to this.
I was thankful to be there.