Today we visited the ruins of Ephesus, a Roman city. Our guide, Huseyin, told us that there are more Greek ruins in Turkey than in Greece, and more Roman ruins than in Italy. It would have been easy to become a little overawed by the extent of historical sites but Huseyin kept it interesting by telling us about fun facts. For instance, he told us that the toilets were like a “social club” where people met and chatted whilst going about their ‘business’. He also told us about a tunnel which leads from the library to the brothel so that husbands could suggest that their wives do some shopping whilst they did some ‘research’. I was very impressed with the Library of Celsus.
After lunch, we visited a Turkish carpet shop and a school called Carpet Weavers Center. I can not find their website so I think they may have changed their name. It was at this shop and school that I learned that it is women who make Turkish carpets and the designs are handed down from mother to daughter. We were treated to a demonstration showing how the silk thread is extracted from the cocoon and how the hand knotting is done. Claudia even tried her hand at tying a knot. After the demonstration, we were led into a big room where carpets were shown in rather dramatic fashion. Then the group was split up. This was similar to the carpet co-op in Morocco but the difference was that the Turks actually told me a starting price. I bought a very small, very beautiful silk rug.
After shopping, we went back to Kusadasi where we had the rest of the afternoon and evening free to explore. I will quote directly from my journal, “I will start this the way I start so many of my journal entries – I am sitting in a bar. I am actually on the terrace of the Akdeniz Apart Hotel in Kusadasi, Turkey. The street in front of me is populated almost entirely by tattoo parlours and Irish pubs. An Irish gentleman in the lobby informed me that Kusadasi is the home of the Irish in Turkey. I have wandered away from the tourist area in search of a coin laundry. To locate something that prosaic, one must find where real people live and shop. I have found it. I have been in Turkey for five days and, except for wandering around the garment district of Istanbul my first morning, I have only been treated to the sights that tourists come to Turkey to see. That isn’t completely true. I went to the spice market twice where the crush of Turks shopping was as authentic as the Hari Raya market in Singapore.” Wed 30 Oct 2013