Totally Unexpected, Totally Turkey!

Another stop on our Mediterranean Cruise was in Turkey.  I did not realize how much I would love Turkey! It was not at all what I expected.  It was very beautiful and has incredible history.  I really wanted to see some of the countryside so we chose a tour that stopped in 3 different locations as well as the port city of Kusadasi.

We opted to take a tour with the cruise company, Royal Caribbean.  We enjoy the security that comes along with using the cruise tour in case the tour runs late, as well as having the luxury of someone else plan a great day for us without having to think about it.

The excursion we chose took us to two villages as well a lunch stop and a carpet weaving shop.  First, we went to the village of Sirince.  Sirince was originally a Greek settlement which makes this a fascinating small village.  We were able to go inside the old ruins of a Greek church.

The rest of the time in the village was free time to explore and enjoy the small Turkish Bazaar.

Luckily, our waiter on the cruise ship gave us some great advice for bartering.  He is Turkish, so he knew first hand what to do.  If you ever go to Turkey, start by offering half of the price listed or suggested and then go with the flow from there. If they are not budging, walk away. Most of the time they will follow you out of the store/booth offering a lower price or accepting your offer. Since it was a regularly visited tourist town, they accepted Euro even though Turkey has their own currency.

I bought a silk pashmina while at this bazaar.  His starting price was 70 Euro and I brought him down to 40.  We then stated that we were going to go look around and think about it.  As we walked out he told us how “40 Euro was a very good price”.  We walked around for about 15 more minutes. Before we got to the booth I put 35 Euro in my pocket so I would have it handy.  Arriving back at his booth I pulled out the 35 Euro and stated “I would like that pashmina, I have 35 Euro”, while putting the money out toward him.  He smiled, took the money and told my husband that he has “a very clever and beautiful wife”.  Which that totally made my day because it was hilarious. I got the pashmina for half the listed price! Don’t let them guilt you by saying that it’s “a steal” for that price, they wouldn’t sell it to you if they were not making money.

The town was very cute and had fun, unique, little details, such as this vase stuck into a rock.

After Sirence, we moved on to the town of Tire.  This was much larger than Sirence, but not large enough to be a city.  Our first stop was at a small museum. Here they had many artifacts as well as an impressive, preserved, mosaic.

Outside they had large rocks and pillars with art and writing on them.

After the museum we stopped by a felt maker’s shop.  My only regret this entire trip was that I didn’t jump on the chance to buy one of these felts.

First he gave a demonstration of how they create the felts.

Then he brought out some finished pieces for us to see.

The restaurant we stopped at was out in the middle of the dense woods.  They created a beautiful garden under the canopy.  It was a gorgeous place to enjoy a delicious Turkish meal.

Finally, we made it to our last stop, the carpet shop.  Here we learned the process of carpet weaving.  We were able to watch the women work.  Most of the carpets take years to weave which is why they are so expensive.

Learning how they harvest the silk from the silk worms was quite incredible.  The cocoons are placed into water and then brushed with a special brush to get the strands of silk to begin to unwind.  The strands are then gathered and attached to a spinning machine which turns the strands into a silk thread.  Later they are dyed many different colors.

We attempted to walk around the bazaar at the port, but it was a big mistake.  It’s a huge tourist trap and the vendors are relentless.  If you even half glanced at one of their items they would be running down the aisle trying to haggle with you.

We loved Turkey, though.  It was an experience I will never forget.  I would definitely like to go back some day!

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