Carpets and jewellery


Colouring the fabrics

One of the major disadvantages of those cheap bus tours through Turkey are the compulsory visits to carpet cooperations, leather factories and king size jewellery stores. On our 8 day trip, we had to visit two of them, a carpet cooperation and a jewellery store. If you don't intend to buy something (and who really needs a Turkish carpet these days?), you wish you should have done something else with your time.

Yes, this is what you call a carpet

Ok, ok, ok. To be honest, the first part of the visit of the carpet cooperation is quite interesting. In about half an hour we learn everything about silk worms, processing silk, painting of all kinds of fabrics, etcetera, etcetera.

Cocoons

Multi-threaded ?

The rooms with all those ladies, making carpets with 1000's and 1000's of knots... that's cool stuff, too. You can hardly imagine that some of those carpets have a few hundred knots per square centimetre. A carpet like that usually takes a few years to finish. Those carpets must be VERY expensive.

The carpet ladies

Trying it yourself

After the demonstration in the factory, the next item on the agenda is the presentation of the carpets. We are brought to a large room, where several hundreds of carpets are stored. All those carpets are presented to us and rolled out on the floor in a dazzling tempo. It's really hard work for these guys.

Dazzling performance

Some carpets can be used as a bed

After you've seen the factory and after you've seen all those carpets on the floor, it's time to decide if you want to buy a carpet. Some very skilled salesmen will assist you in making this decision.
For me, there are several reasons NOT to buy a carpet: the one I like is one of the few carpets in the room still standing in the corner, it will probably cost about 8000 euros. And, at home we have a guinea pig running loose, who will probably destroy any carpet in just two weeks. So, after a few minutes, I walk out of the room to the café. Here, I grab a coffee with some others who also don't need a carpet, and start to wait for the rest of the group. If there are some people in your group who are very indecisive, it can take almost two hours for everyone to reappear. Our group was a tough one for the salesmen: in the end they sold us only one very small carpet. You could see on their faces they didn't like this. Our guide wasn't pleased either; no commission for him this time.
Polishing a wedding ring

Goldsmiths

The visit to the jewellery store is similar to the carpet cooperation. First, there is a demonstration about gold, precious stones and craftsmanship. Next, the part where you should protect your credit card dearly. You are brought to an enormous hall, with an almost infinite choice in jewellery. In Turkish style, there are no price tags. If you want to know the price of an item, you'll have to ask.
The enormous hall

And asking is easy; while walking through this vast hall, every lady in the group gets her own 'shark'. These personal sharks will walk with the lady, giving information about items, and help her in making a decision what to buy.

Since Mirjam told me on the phone this morning NOT to buy any jewellery, and Mia isn't interested either, we soon head for the exit. It's time for an ice cream, we think.

Time for an ice cream

Well, there's plenty of time, in fact. As long as there's any change you might buy something, the salesmen have many tricks to keep you inside. With our group, this took several hours, even Jan managed to finish his ice cream before everybody returned to the bus.