Three Moments in Ankara: #3 Stairway Saleswomen

If you’ve been reading my Three Moments in Ankara posts, you’ve already heard about the events surrounding this one. If not, you can start here and probably not be too lost.

We had visited the museum, eaten lunch, shopped at Galeri Z and walked around the spice market and shop area.  Our goal after leaving the shopping area was to climb to the top of the citadel walls too see the view and to explore the oldest area in the city of Ankara.

On TripAdvisor the Ankara citadel (hisar is the Turkish word for citadel) is described thusly:  The foundations of this structure were laid by Galatians and eventually completed by the Romans. Located atop a hill in the old city, the area inside the citadel contains many fine examples of traditional architecture.   You can read more about the citadel here.

As we were climbing steep, steep streets and then finally the stairs to the citadel walls I (as usual) fell way behind Rob, Ben and Sarah.  Though I am 5’8″ tall, I am the shortest one in my family.  They easily outpace me even on short walks.

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Entering the stairway “shop” area.

I was pretty winded and was sweating profusely (as usual), so I finally decided to plop down on one of the stair steps to catch my breath and rest a bit.  Now this seems like it wouldn’t be a social thing to do, but believe me – it was!  All along the stairway there were women.  Every woman had her area and had her various handcrafts and wares displayed.  They were very talkative and did not hesitate to urge people passing to look, touch and yes – buy!

I didn’t look at the stuff or the woman where I sat.  I just sat.  I caught my breath, and smiled at the woman closest to me.   I fanned my face and tried to communicate “I’m hot and tired and out of shape.”  She smiled back and instantly pointed to her display of things for sale.  I shook my head, but then noticed she had a small pile of white crocheted items.  I pointed and asked if I could see them.  I knew she didn’t most likely didn’t speak English but I also knew that most people who sell things are willing to try to communicate with a potential buyer.  She handed one of the items.  It was very intricately crocheted and rectangular in shape.  I wasn’t sure what it would be used for, so I attempted to ask that question.  One of the ladies (by now several were watching us closely) came up with the word “sofa.”  So I figured they were doilies for sofa arms and backs.

At this point and older woman came over and started handing me HER things, HER crocheted pieces.  I thought it was very funny.  She must be the pushiest one of them all, because no one else tried to interfere with her.  I shook my head no, though, and pointed back to the first lady that I had been communicating with.

She handed me a couple more squares and other doilies.  Several were very lovely, but there was one that really caught my eye.  The stitches were SO tiny, and the design was intricate and beautiful.  I asked how much.  She said 20TL.  I asked if 15 would do, and she agreed.  I asked if she had made it, and she nodded yes.  I held up my camera and asked if I could take her photograph with it after I bought it.  She seemed to think this was kind of odd, but she agreed.  I took three pictures, and finally got one capturing her lovely smile.  I love that this doily isn’t just a THING but that I met the woman who made it and have a photo to remember her and this experience (as well as the lovely doily).

The woman on the steps.  I bought the doily in her hand.
The woman on the steps. I bought the doily in her hand.

One of the other older ladies told me (in halting words and with many guesses back and forth between us) that her son is in America.  I think she said he was in Chicago.  I told her we live near Chicago in the US.  She seemed very pleased by that.  She was very proud to tell me that her son was in the US.

Stairway shops looking down from above (I think they were all talking about ME at this point!)
Stairway shops looking down from above (I think they were all talking about ME at this point!)

This all happened on the way UP the steps.

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When I came back down, they were not busy selling but were busy talking.  I suspected they were talking about ME. 😉  Benjamin was with me.  I waved and smiled.  One of them pointed at Ben and said “baby?”  I laughed.  One of them said something like “baby mama?”  I said – yes, he is my baby – BIG baby.  More laughter followed.  Ben felt uncomfortable with all the attention, but I enjoyed the fact that women from such completely different backgrounds and cultures could share moments such as this.

It was a VERY good day.

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I am a pianist, musician, music teacher, choir director, mother, wife, daughter, sister, cousin, sister-in-law, friend, neighbor. I enjoy music (of course!), quilting, sewing, beading, traveling, kayaking, camping, biking, hiking, gardening, knitting, scrapbooking, cooking, reading, poetry, drinking good coffee, and having fun with family and friends. NOTE -- Creative Commons License: All work of The Tromp Queen (quirkyjazz, aka Jill) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 Unported License.

7 thoughts on “Three Moments in Ankara: #3 Stairway Saleswomen”

  1. I’m so glad you enjoyed these posts. I’ve been wondering if these experiences would be as interesting to other people as they are to me! I used to shop at estate and rummage sales quite frequently and could never resist an embroidered table runner or dresser scarf, or embroidered pillow cases with crocheted or tatted edging. Yes, I bought doilies, too! One very spectacular one jumps to mind. It was yellow and green and somehow was made to look like 3-dimensional daffodils. I will see if I can find it and post a photo for you.

    1. My Italian grandmother crocheted all the time, and I have sheets & pillowcases as you mentioned, table clothes, runners, towels, etc. that she embroidered, crocheted, etc. They are beautiful & were passed on to my Mom, to me, and will go to my son. They are treasured, to be sure.

  2. Thank you for sharing Turkey with us; I enjoyed all 3 posts, along with the pictures. I think the women who do the beautiful handiwork are in many other countries as well – I’ve met some of them! But I can never resist lace doilies or handkerchiefs.

  3. Oh, Jill!! These are GREAT!!!!! I enjoyed every one of them immensely! I look forward to more of your trip in upcoming days!! It is just GREAT! HUGS!

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, Mary Ann! I will work on some more stories from Turkey just for you. I am so glad you are enjoying reading my blog. I really appreciate all your words of encouragement and support. Thank you!

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