I had been recommended by Mary in the Foreign Advice Bureau to perhaps pay a visit to the Radon Thermal spring at Davutlar; it was in a general conversation about going out and seeing various places in and around Kusadasi. So I decided to go one morning on the dolmus to Davutlar, for the first time.

I knew where Davutlar was but had never been there, especially on the dolmus. Mary had told me that all I have to do is tell the driver on the Davutlar dolmus “Radon Thermal” and they will take you right there, for a fraction more than the normal cost to Davutlar. The only problem I had was that I couldn’t remember the actual name and kept saying ‘Ramon’ instead of Radon.

 So I arrived at the Belediyesi in Davutlar, which is about 25 minutes or so from Kusadasi and the driver shouted “Davutlar!” So I was kind of obliged to get off the bus. In the Belediye I still couldn’t find out where the “Ramon” was, not helped by the fact that I was still pronouncing it wrong!

 An elderly Turkish gentleman outside the Belediye then gestured for me to go down the road about 1 km and turn left. I then walked and, finding an estate agent, asked where the Ramon Thermal is. Puzzled, he said “Radon Thermal?’ The penny dropped as the English sometimes say…

 He gave me better directions which involved roughly the same route as I had already been told, but when I did the left turn into a residential street, where there was absolutely nobody around, I felt I must be in the wrong place: why aren’t there other people who look like they are going or coming from a thermal spring bath? I continued up the road to a T junction and was about to turn back when a tractor came along. I stopped the driver and, using the right word, told him where I wanted to go. He spoke in Turkish the equivalent of “Get on, I’m going that way”!! So I did, and was delivered by tractor, about 5 minutes up the road, to the Radon Thermal!

 He took me inside and introduced me to the owner and, having given the driver a few lira, he then gave the lira to the owner who promptly gave it back to me, shaking his head. Oops! I think I probably insulted the driver….!

 I was then given a key to a simple cubicle changing room (slightly bigger than a portaloo in size) and changed. The Radon consists of a pool which is in two halves; one half is where the water is regularly replenished via a very strong jet of water, pumped into the pool every 20 minutes or so, and this half is hottest. The other half of the pool is fed from the first half and is therefore not so hot, as I guess it’s somewhat diluted at that stage. When the pump starts, it’s a good place to stand to get your back pummelled by the strong jet – I wasn’t bold enough to face towards the incoming pumped water, and nor was anyone else! Great back massage though.

 The general atmosphere in the pool area has a smell of sulphur and the water itself seems to contain a mix of sulphur and salt – it states on the notice at the side that you can drink it but I decided to just keep it on the surface!! My initial immersion, although hot, felt great – like getting into a hot bath, and after a short period, it just made me feel good. Maybe this is just a psychological reaction to what is known to be a very healthy and healing place to be, or whether I genuinely felt physically better, I don’t know. The areas all around the pool are a kind of white sandstone on which it’s almost impossible to slip, although everyone wears footwear anyway.

 They recommend, as you go in, that you stay in the water for short periods (20 mins max) and then shower, take a short break outside the water and then immerse again. The notice board states a maximum of 3 x 20 minute bathes in one day, but it didn’t state the reason why. The shower has a mixer tap so you can have hot or cold, or start with hot and then gradually make the shower colder. Cold is apparently best – a bit like a cold plunge pool after a sauna.

 After 4 x 15 minute bathes (I did the arithmetic and kept to the 60 mins max!), I showered and dressed, and I have to say I felt really great. My skin felt very soft, especially my feet, and, for someone who has arthritis and some other medical problems, I felt that it was one of the most therapeutic experiences I have ever had.

 I will now go there regularly – at 20 lira entrance fee, it’s a no-brainer, especially for those that have joint problems, inflammation, even skin problems; there are probably many more healing qualities that it provides but it would probably help if I understood Turkish to know what they are. Still, my lack of Turkish didn’t stop me from cadging a lift from the driver of a tractor!!

 Lastly, you only have to tell the manager when you want the Dolmus and it arrives in roughly 10 minutes, to go whichever direction you came from.

 A great therapeutic experience – for just 20 Turkish lira!

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