Carpet Rides and Thermal Pools

If you really don’t spend all that much time looking at a man’s feet, how often do you really notice the carpet beneath it? After visiting a traditional Turkish Carpet Factory, I’ve got a newfound appreciation for all things textile flooring.

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Traditional Turkish rugs are hand woven, an intensive process that takes months to complete. The threads are hand spun from silkworm threads before being dyed using natural colours. The silkworm cocoons are steamed until the insect is dead and multiple cocoons are unravelled at once and spun together to create a single thread. Apparently spider webs can also be used!

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Once the threads are ready, they are boiled in wooden vats with a dye. Red threads are made with saffron and indigo threads are dyed with a berry which turns it blue as it dried. In olden times, this was called magic, today it is called science.

We were then taken into a showroom where we were shown the differences between the different designs and density of dots. As we sipped on Turkish Tea , carpets were literally flung across the room, colours and patterns flashing and flying.

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The difference between rugs woven of cotton and rugs woven of silk is hard to see at first, but it soon became very apparent. Silk rugs are much softer, plusher and change colour in the light. It was very hard to tell which rugs were the pricier because on first inspection they all looked rather similar. This tiny little thing, depicting a tree and symbolising family costs thousands and thousands of US dollars despite being the size of a door mat!

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After a wander through the gallery (yep, a carpet gallery) we headed to the thermal pools of Pammukkale. These are naturally formed pools in a calcium mountain, which means not only are the mountains stunningly white, but they also provide an incredible view of the surrounding countryside. Turkey seems to be a country of geographical extremes, whereby the land is either very, very flat or very mountainous, and isn’t the view from the mountains a shocker?

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Despite the heat, the area has very much been developed to take advantage of tourists. There are gardens planted out resembling the Garden of Eden, and for the low, low price of 30Lira (about AU$15) you can go swimming in the freshwater spa

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This pump draws up fresh drinking water which is also used to fill the pools in the spa.

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Rather than stay and look at what we couldn’t afford, we made the trek up to the Hierapois of Phrygia, which is a beautifully preserved and partically reconstructed theatre which overlooks the views of Pammukkale. The Ancients built their theatres to have beautiful views in order to inspire the imagination of their audience.

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We walked back down to the thermal pools, having felt like we’d earned our dip! Nevertheless, we were very glad to find a pool at our hotel, and in no time at all, 40+ Contiki kids had literally invaded the adult pool. And with a sunset like this, who could blame us??

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