After we left Ephesus during our tour, our private guide suggested that we stop by a Turkish carpet place, where we could buy a reasonable lunch and see some carpets being made. That’s usually a code along the lines of “my cousin has this tequila factory, and we’ll just stop by for a minute.” (Which totally happened to us in Mexico, but more on that later). With some trepidation, our tour agreed.
When we arrived at Bulbul Mountain Looms Trade School, the owners immediately took us into an enclosed courtyard, sat us at a long table, and proceeded to stuff us silly with wonderful Turkish dishes. The chefs brought us several kinds of grilled lamb and chicken, grilled vegetables, pita breads, and fruit. All of these was only €7 each! I could not eat everything they brought, so they apparently viewed me as somewhat of a light-weight. Elsewhere in the courtyard, the men had a large grill set up, where they prepared the food as we ate.
After the meal, we were taken on a tour of the site, Bulbul Mountain Looms. It’s not a rug dealer. It’s a trade school where young women learn the trading of weaving and knotting rugs, so that they can return to their villages and have a way to make money from their homes. The rugs are marketed in the area, with women earning money from the sales.
All of the yarns are dyed with natural materials. We watched how they made the dye solutions, and dyed yarn for the rugs. The young women are also taught to spin raw silk fiber directly from cocoons.
We lingered at this delightful and restful place, nestled in the hilly beauty of the Turkish country side, before making our way back to the port town Kuşadası for an afternoon of small-city life.
Sometimes, the unplanned and unexpected side trips in a vacation give you the best memories, and let you see things off the beaten path.
What happy accidents have you found when traveling?
(photos by N. Dilks and N. Baker)
- Visiting Ephesus, Turkey (twodifferentgirls.com)
- The ancient city of Ephesus (turkischland.wordpress.com)
- Ephesus and Kusadasi, Turkey (turkischland.wordpress.com)
- The ancient city of Ephesus (oyiabrown.com)
There aren’t many foreign places these days where the host proclaims in a booming voice, “I LOVE Americans.”. His father served with U.S. troops during the Korean War and clearly it was a good experience for him.