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A Turkish Barber Experience

…or Whatcha gonna do with that straight edge?

Turkey is full of fun things to do, some are more different than others. Reading all our lives, books regale the shave of Turkish barber, so Jim just had to give it a go.

Lathered up and ready for a straight-edge shave in Turkey.
Lathered up and hoping this guy has a steady hand.

A traveling friend of mine makes it a point to get a new hairstyle in a local hair salon in every new city or country she visits. This sounded a bit extreme to me, but one thing I’m bad at during travel is shaving. I just can’t be bothered.

So, why not opt for a shave in every country I visit instead? This sounded much more practical. And who doesn’t miss those good old days of the straight-edge razor and the clean, silky feeling from that smoothest of shaves?

Close shave with the Turkish Barber.
Here we go.

After a day or two wandering around Edirne we’d seen the mosques and scarfed down the fried liver sandwiches; it was time to find something else. “Why not a shave?” I asked my friend Matthew. He was skeptical. A little younger than myself, I don’t think he’d ever seen a straight-edge razor outside of a movie set. But he was up to the challenge.

Turkish Barber trimming the beard.
Trimming the beard

Finding a barber wasn’t hard. Every neighborhood has one or two Kuafors (hair salons). But we wanted the real deal, and would you believe it? Right there in the middle of the pedestrian shopping zone we found an old shack of a place with a Meshur and his apprentice (his son I think).

They were more than happy to plop us in a chair, feet up, head back, lather up, strop-strop-strop, scraaaaape, wipe. Until we were as smooth as the proverbial babies butt. I opted for the neck only, as I’m not willing to give up my luxurious beard. Both of us had a nice massage afterwards.

Turkish Barber massage.
Ohhh that feels good.

Matthew’s was better. He ended up with the Master while the apprentice took care of me. My guy kept peeking glances at the TV, running down the road and then back and generally not really paying attention to what he was doing with the razor (a little disconcerting I might add).

When he finally wiped my face off and slapped down the hot towel he bolted for the door, never to be seen again. “Football,” the dad muttered. Apparently the big game was on that evening and the boy was eager to be off with his friends down the pub.

Turkish Barber takes a little off the top.

As far as cultural experiences go, I’d rate this one pretty high. We had a good time chatting with the barber and enjoyed being gawked at by the regulars waiting their turns. If you’re ever in Edirne and have time for shave, I highly recommend Güray’s Barber Shop!

Author Bio: Jim Vail, is a travel, food, and video creator and a perpetual traveler who has been travel writing for over 15 years. For many years he lived overseas in Germany, Japan, Turkey, South Korea, and the Netherlands, and he’s visited over 90 countries.

Feeling fresh after a visit to the Turkish Barber shop.
Feeling fresh and ready to keep on going.

And after a traditional trim, shave, and massage I’m looking pretty good, don’t you think?

Turkish Barber