We have had a very busy first couple of weeks in Turkey - and it's been a wonderful blur so far. With less than a week to go I thought it's about time to write to you about some of the trip before its all over!
My absolute favorite thing to do here, (other than spending time with family and friends of course) is shop for textiles.
The crossroads of ethnic textiles that exists in Turkey is delicious and truly unsurpassed by any destination that we've ever seen. Uzbek suzanis, Turkoman tassels, Anatolian kilims - we love them all.
The first few days here we shopped in Istanbul with favorite sources for suzanis and for hundreds of meters of silk velvet ikat to make into pillows. Our tassel dealer, too, had a bountiful bunch of Uzbek and Turkoman pieces that we will be bringing back in our suitcases.
My son, Oliver had this trip's first cup of apple tea there. Apple tea is about 98.99% sugar, and of course comes with sugar cubes on the side, so it's a big draw when dragging kids along to textile shopping. Usually we have yummy lunches to entice the kids with as well, but this visit has coincided with Ramazan, the month of religious fasting from dawn til dark. For tourists this is not usually an issue, most restaurants and even bars geared toward foreigners are still open - but when shopping with wholesalers who are outside the main thoroughfares, it can be an issue. Fortunately our good friend, and wonderful textile dealer, managed to talk the best pide restaurant in town into opening for an hour and making us a special order of our favorite snack while shopping on day 3. The kids were stoked - and so was I - pide is the Turkish equivalent of small, skinny pizza.
The tassels shown here are wonderful as tie backs to curtains, hanging up as part of a gallery wall, or wound around a lamp or pot.
Stacks and stacks of suzani waited for our perusal - some for bedcovers, wall hangings, or throws - and some to cut up and make one of a kind pillows.
We bought Ollie a new vintage hat for his collection - he's getting bigger and more selective - this is starting to be an expensive hobby! I have to keep him from trying on the ikat coats behind him... They are gorgeous - and something I would love to collect - but they start at hundreds of dollars and go waay up from there.
We bought over 200 meters of handwoven Uzbek ikat fabric too - all silk - most in hand cut velvet, and some in the traditional smooth. They will be cut and sewn into hundreds of pillows - all coming soon by air freight!
Can't wait to receive all these treasures. I will post soon about our kilim and carpet shopping -and about some of our favorite sights while traveling in Turkey. We love it here!