On Friday night we went on a "Village Experience" to a village called Sazköy near Bodrum. We found this experience far more valuable than the night before. Firstly, we had our awesome guide Orhan from Peninsula Tours (that took us to Ephesus) and I have to say that I have never met a more knowledgeable tour guide before. He also has great empathy with local Turkish life and told us a lot about how every day Turks might struggle to make ends meet and so on.
The tour started inside a mosque. It was a tiny village mosque and Orhan explained a lot of the traditions and rituals of the local Muslim people. Then we went to the local coffee shop had awesome apple tea. I became popular amongst some Irish children as I encouraged them to use my water to cool down their tea! They were also serving the bitter black tea that Turkish people like to drink but the apple tea was definitely a good choice. I had two glasses. The temperatures were in the late 30°c's (over 100°f) but strangely enough the tea cooled us down.
Our host was on the far right. Women don't customarily enter coffee shops as it is a place for men to play games and drink coffee. Some men do work or have their own businesses but many of the men are retired or unemployed.
We then took a long leisurely walk through the village. It is hard to explain the Turkish countryside. In many sense, it reminded us of a very dry South Africa. A lot of the plants and scenery were similar to what you would find in Sabie for example. But whereas we experience a lot of rain in summer in Johannesburg or the Lowveld, it is completely dry and arid in Bodrum.
We absolutely delighted in identifying all of the different trees. I remember olive, fig, plum and lemon trees but I am sure there were more.
Orhan then took us to a lady who was making carpets.
What distinguishes Sazköy carpets from others is that the carpets are double-knotted and are extremely durable and strong. They are all hand made and the average time for completing a carpet is three months. Like the ceramic bowls, no template is followed and therefore each and every single carpet is a one off unique piece of art.
Although standards of living are more modern these days, they have preserved a little cottage to show how people used to live. I could not help myself by that stage - I had to take a bit of a rest.
Thankfully it wasn't too much further and then we were invited into the home of a villager and served the most delicious meal I have eaten in years (excluding Stephen's Sunday roasts of course).
We sat cross-legged on the patio to eat our meal and drink iced-tea. It was really fabulous and with Orhan explaining all of the food to us, it was a real treat and introduction to Turkish culture.
After the meal we were given a show of all of the different types of Turkish carpets, explaining the different pigments and materials as well as some of the pictures on them. It was lovely. Here is a link to the finished products: Sazköy Carpets. Stephen and I were so conflicted because we really, really wanted a carpet in natural colours (I think it would have been €100) but we just did not think we could put it anywhere in our home. With two dogs and two cats it is not always easy to keep our house clean, never mind adding lovely, expensive carpets to the equation! Of course, we had no idea that the credit crunch would lead to our landlord giving us notice when we got back from holiday. Still- I might just arrange to buy a carpet through Peninsula Tours once we settle in the new house.