September 16, 2014

A Turkish Wedding

Turkey Day 8

As I mentioned before, we took a day off to relax (Day 7). The following day was the wedding so we caught a flight from Izmur and arrived in Ankara the same time as our friends, Anna and Shem. Back to the hotel, we checked in, had lunch, a quick swim in the spa and then dressed and headed over to the home of the bride’s parents. 

Musicians were playing on the sidewalk, under her window, when we arrived. A throng of guests gathered and we waited with the bride for the groom. Similar to a Buddhist wedding we attended in Taiwan, it was customary for the groom to pick up his bride and take her to the ceremony. When he arrived the dancing started.... and never really stopped. 

Not a stiff hip in the crowd

The ceremony took place in a garden, at the back of a restaurant, overlooking Ankara.



The bride and groom sat at their table and exchanged vows from huge white upholstered chairs. Thirty tables surrounded the couple and, as the sun set, we could see fireworks in the distance. We were told that it’s not uncommon for weddings to be marked with fireworks (like they sometimes are in the movies). It was clear, ours wasn’t the only wedding that night.



The food was brought out in stages and the music never stopped. I’m not sure the bride ever ate. The Turkish music was irresistible and it felt as though everyone was there to help the bride and groom celebrate. There were no wet blankets.


Our table included a group of beautiful Turkish women, friends of Cansel, who taught us how to make a toast (Serefe!) and execute the Turkish dance, which occasionally required hand-holding and lateral hip thrusts. Pictures not included.

delicious wedding cake.
We had a great time in Turkey (definitely one of my favourite vacations). We saw much, we learned much and we ate much. We have Cansel and Onur to thank. One day, we hope to return. 

lavender party favours




September 15, 2014

Silk, Rugs and Saying Goodbye


Turkey, Day Six – part 2

After lunch, dissension broke out within the group. Our tour was scheduled to visit a Turkish rug factory, which also sold Turkish rugs, and some people started to complain. To be fair, we visited a pottery factory and a jewellery factory, and it was clear some of our tour was being ‘sponsored’. On the other hand, for all that we got, this tour was a good value. The excursions were already included in the itinerary and weren’t sprung on us; we weren’t hassled into buying anything and the pottery factory was fascinating. I wanted to see how Turkish rugs were made! 

The Canadians didn’t put up a fuss; we took the tour with the family from South Africa. The South Americans rebelled, stayed in the garden, and then asked us all about it when we returned.

The first demonstration was silk fabrication. Silk cocoons bought from regional silk farmers were softened in water and then threaded over a wheel. 


The silk was hung to dry, waiting to be dyed before being used to make the rugs. 



Next, we were ushered into a cool room and treated to tea...


And a rug display.



We were told about how the number of threads weaved together and the type of the silk used, played an important roll in the quality and longevity of the rug. Turkish rugs are meant to be heirlooms and last for several generations. Our tour guide showed us a picture of several he had in his own home. He also showed us a picture of his daughter who he leaves several months out of the year to do these tours. He seemed pretty worn out. After five days on the road, we all were.

Today was the last day of the tour. We said our good-byes to the driver and our awesome guide and exchanged contact information in case we ever came back to Turkey. Ufuk told us the eastern part of Turkey is even more amazing…

We were dropped off at our hotel in Izmur. Cam and I arranged to stay on the coast an extra day to do more sightseeing, but instead we spent the day walking the boardwalk, reading and lounging around the pool.

view from our hotel room

We took a plane out and arrived back in Ankara the day of the wedding.