Do you recognize the above song lyric? If so, be the first to post the answer (the name of the band) to my Facebook page and I’ll bring you a little present from Turkey.
Today we traveled from Ankara to Cappadocia. The trip was a couple of hours and there were some interesting sites along the way.
There is a salt lake(Tuz Golu) in Turkey which is clearly visible from the road. At times during the year, you don’t see the salt because of the water, we saw just the opposite, all of this salt and next to no water. I want to say that 1/3 of Turkey’s salt comes from this lake, but I might just have made that up.
Yes, that is a picture of pigeons. Don’t you take photos of pigeons when you’re on vacation? Pigeons have historically been important to the Turks; the bird droppings are used for fuel, the pigeons carry messages and they are edible. The reason I have a photo of pigeons is not to elevate this lowly winged rat to an unreasonable status, but to show that pigeons can be interesting. For example, here’s a sign for a pigeon scenic overlook. .
Because of the need for pigeons in everyday life in the past, there were a great number of pigeon coops – but they are pigeon coops of a natural sort. Notice the rock has been hewn away for pigeon roosts. I counted about 1 bazillion roosts in Pigeon Valley. All kidding aside, the valley was beautiful.
Today many families in Cappadocia keep pigeons – a cultural standard.
At Pigeon Valley there were a few vendors. Mary is standing in front of a tree decorated by hanging mavi boncuk. This is a blue bead amulet that protects the wearer from the ‘evil eye’. Wherever good luck is needed, you’ll see this pretty bead – they are everywhere.
This one apparently worked because Mary did not get pooped on by a pigeon.
We continued traveling in our big bus along the highway. I promised myself I wouldn’t talk about food, but I have to show you this wonderful chocolate bunny I bought at a roadside restaurant. The five of us ate the little fellow and were delighted to find he was filled with a date paste. Yum!
After several hours we arrived in Cappadocia. Ender took us to a Turkish rug shop which was fascinating. We learned the process that this company takes in creating their rugs, beginning with the silk worm cocoon. The cocoons are put into hot water which loosens the silk strands. The strands are then combed/brushed until individual strands can be pulled. A single silk strand from the cocoon can stretch a mile. The winding out of the cocoon is done by machine – a very loud machine! There are, of course, other steps involved. Below is some silk from that process.
Not all Turkish rugs are made from silk, of course. (The silk ones are the most expensive). Many are made from wool which can be left in it’s natural shade or dyed. here are some spindles of dyed wool.
Women follow a pattern pinned at the top of their loom. They weave, cut the excess thread and do that over and over and over and over. I hope you’re able to watch this short video.
This company had a sign that says all of their female workers are 15 or older and are not mistreated. I think I understood the speaker correctly when he said that 84% of the money garnered from the sale of a rug goes to the weaver. Turkish rug weaving is a dying art…so women are trained and given looms and spend the long, cold winters making rugs. The rugs are sold at this market. These rugs are all double knotted, which apparently if you’re into rugs that’s very important. What I was amazed at was the number of knots per inch – that is what sets the subprice. The more knots, the longer the rug takes to make (probably also affected by the number of knots) the more expensive the rug. And, of course, the fabric whether it’s silk or wool or cotton affects the price as well because can you get a whole lot more knots into a silk rug because of the very fine strands than a cotton or wool rug. Some of the rugs we saw were created by two women sitting side by side and the rugs took about 2 years. I think I’d be pretty sick of that pattern..
The salesmen showed us a wide variety of rugs, some were beautiful and some (like a dog’s head that looked like a cross-stitch project gone bad) were “not to my taste.”
And, yes, I did try to buy a rug, this rug, in fact, but we could not agree upon a price. Oh well.
It was a long day of travelling, but it was not close to over! We arrived at our hotel and several of us made for the swimming pool. The first pool of our trip. I got in the water, screeched and got OUT! The water was about 40 degrees…I swear I saw an iceberg as I tried to levitate out. Finally I did get into the water. I stood on the stairs until my feet were numb; moved down another step until my thighs were numb, on up my body. Finally I was brave enough to strike out and swim a few laps. Of course everyone around the pool was cackling and carrying on when they tried to get in. So, we decided that I would stay in (which wasn’t too bad once I was swimming) and the next person who came down we would tell the water was quite nice and just jump right in. She did.
I see my post is getting a little long, so I’ll continue it with a part 2. There was an optional tour this evening and this was what I was looking forward to most in the trip. You’ll never guess what it was… stay tuned.