31.10.2011 - 31.10.2011 10 °C
Early start this morning as some of the ladies and I decided to go and see a felting shop to understand how they traditionally made felt (and still do) here in Turkey. I’ve seen felt produced before in Aust and was surprised to see how differently it seems to be made here. The felting process in Turkey is that they start with a felt base (created the same way as I am about to describe) and to the felt base a thin sheet of cotton is attached (well it is when they make rugs.. when making scarfs they would use silk). The cotton is attached by thoroughly wetting the cotton in a hot soapy water solution. The cotton is then laid onto the already created felt and ‘rolled’ to ensure the felt fibres attach to the cotton. Once this is dried other layers of wool can be added to the cotton to create a felted pattern.
Today the lady at the shop was making a rug with a design of coloured flowers. To make the flowers she was just grabbing a small amount of wool, thoroughly wetting it in the water/ soap solution and then just laying it onto the cotton. As the water dries it slightly bonds to the cotton. Once all of the wool has been added to the cotton the whole rug is taken, wet down with the soap/ water solution and then the rug is rolled and kneaded to combine the cotton fibres with the woollen fibres creating a felt. Her shop is of course also a show room for her works so we spent some time trying on some of her concoctions (shortish jackets, vests and lots and lots of scarfs). She managed to get some of the ladies to part with their cash before we continued our site seeing journey at the Mevlana Museum.
From what I could work out at the museum, Mevlana was some sort of Islamic guru who created his own following and had his own mantra’s. His sect is today known as the Dervis, and this is the sect that we saw earlier in Bursa ‘whirling their way around the room’ as they sang their prayers (ala Evensong). The museum is housed inside an old Mosque that was used by the Dervis. The centrepiece of the museum is a couple of rooms that house coffins of sect leaders. Each of the coffins are draped in long silken pieces of cloth. The area is off limits for photography and also for viewing so you look at these coffins from a distance. They appeared to be a little dusty so I’m guessing they also infrequently clean the coffins to ensure they don’t disturb the dead?? All in all the museum was certainly one of the more interesting that I’ve entered.. esp when there were people inside who were seemed to be praying in front of these coffins? It’s kind of like a museum come mausoleum!
After our wander around the Mevlana museum it was time for us to board another bus this time for Goreme in Cappadocia! Our drive was very uneventful with us arriving at Goreme just before the sun set (around 4pm). Although the drive was uneventful the surrounding landscape was very beautiful. This part of Turkey is a sandy/ rocky desert with rolling hills.. so if you can imagine yellowish soil and a very blue, blue sky.. Unbelievably beautiful. I have to admit that this is the sort of landscape that I actually pictured Turkey to look like, and I had finally come to the point where I could see it!
Goreme is actually nothing like I pictured it! The town is built in a valley that is filled with fairy chimneys. The buildings themselves are built inside the chimneys so you can see windows and doors cut into each of these amazing land formations. We checked into our hotel and then quickly climbed up behind our hotel to a vantage point to take a look at the valley at sunset. The valley reminded me something of the Grand Canyon but with these ‘sand dribble’ style rock formations… Nothing like I’ve ever seen before and likely nothing like I’m ever going to see again!
The temp is still very very low (about 3 below tonight!) so we all rugged up big time to head out for some dinner. In fact I wore almost everything I owned out to dinner! Dinner was at a local ladies house and she cooked for us the most incredible Bulger Rice.. I’m now a complete convert to Bulger wheat cooked with chilis and lemon! I’ve grabbed the recipe so fingers crossed I can put it all together when I get home and cook up some more. Her house is built into one of the chimneys and has been in her family for a couple of generations.. Pretty cool huh?
We all headed in early because tomorrow we are getting up early to go for a hike through the valley and we’re also going to find the Underground City where people escaped persecution.