Avanos

Willemijn and I were thinking of getting haircuts at her hairdresser in Avanos; she couldn’t get ahold of him by phone but we decided to head over there anyway. Avanos is known for its pottery – people have been making clay pots here from time immemorial, so the first stop was for Willemijn to buy several pots for her terrace flower garden. Piles of pots, mostly with slight imperfections, lay in the store’s yard, and we spent a bit of time selecting ones with nice shapes.

After, we headed off to the old Turkish bath, its building from Selcuk times, so I could take pictures. This bath is pretty authentic and also authentically grubby! It is not open to the public yet this year – the owner kept reminding us that it will be open in three more days – and he allowed us to wander around the entire facility in our muddy boots. The building is gorgeous, with two high domes, arches and sculptural decorations. It has a sauna, cool bath, hamam room with marble slab and lots of washing stations, and a bar for raki (deadly Turkish licorice liqueur) afterwards! We declined the raki invitation and headed off to the pottery emporium of Willemijn’s friend Lillian, called Chez Galip, named after her husband Galip the master potter.

We watched one of the potters make a beautiful vase with a very long neck and then I gave it a try, with his help. I was doing quite well, managing to raise the clay quite high, when the neck broke – o devastation! I then managed to make a sweet, but smaller, vase decorated with bands of red. Chez Galip, in addition to several rooms full of pottery and clay sculpture, including a model of the Hittite mother goddess from Catal Huyuk, also has a hair museum. Several cave rooms are devoted to bits of paper with locks of women’s hair hanging on the walls. These have been collected here for the past 27 years and each year, two such bits are selected at random and the women chosen receive a two week vacation and pottery lessons in Avanos. So of course off came a lock of mine to join the throng.

The evening was spent chez BCH enjoying another of Paul’s gourmet meals, this time beef stroganoff – yum!

See pictures here.

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