Magic Carpet Ride

In Turkey, everywhere we turned there were carpets…

…dressing up every room in the house.


…and outdoors.

Sometimes in the most unexpected places.

 There are special prayer rugs in the mosques.

Even Turkish camels use them.

Cats love them too.

They really really love them.

And so do I.

They are important to the tourist trade.

 I was willing to do my part to boost the economy.


But how to choose?

So many variables.  Size, color, intricate patterns…

We knew we should research the market, measure the space, photograph the rug, walls, and furniture we wanted our  purchase to match.  But we didn’t.

The wine helped.  Hospitality is customary in Turkey, but it doesn’t hurt to soften up potential buyers.  We didn’t care: we knew from the start we would walk out with a new carpet.

Relying on instinct, we pared it down to two rugs. Then Metin explained the symbolism, and the deal was sealed. The tulip border on our favorite was a common Turkish motif, symbolizing the Garden of Eden.

Tulips recall Turkey’s rich history and culture, from the ‘tulip mania’ that brought “the Konya flowers” from Turkey to the West, to the many doors of understanding and appreciation opened on this shared journey.

One border design depicts water…

…for freedom and triumph over difficulties, because water follows its own path around, below or above any obstacle.

It also symbolizes fertility.

Red is for vibrance, passion, happiness.  The ‘S’ border is for the first letter in the Turkish word for love.

The oleander flower, strong and drought resistant, stands for protection.  It can be poisonous but is used to treat cancer, epilepsy, heart conditions, and more.  Thousands of years ago Roman soldiers took it to cure hangovers.

Could our Turkish carpet brother be reading us so well that he could tell us exactly the story we want to hear?  Love, passion, protection, and satisfaction guaranteed?  Absolutely!

We weren’t worried about cutting the best deal or finding the best bargain: that was the happy ending to someone else’s adventure.  It was the love story that stood out for us, the one we felt invested in, the one we happily bought into.

And the rug was a perfect fit–although not where we’d intended to put it, but–surprise!–we found an even better place for it, and we love our carpet more than we hoped or imagined.

We choose our own stories, just as we choose a carpet or a mate.

A little glass of wine can help.  Don’t worry about the ticket price, go by instinct, and carry it home.  Not every day can be a magic carpet ride, but these things hold their value, and a good one will last a lifetime.

All images and words copyright 2015 Naomi Baltuck

Click here for more interpretations of The Weekly Photo Challenge: Intricate.


  1. This is an excellent magic carpet ride. I have never been before. Thank you, Naomi. As always you lead a fantastic tour, framed with pictures and words. The photos are dazzling, especially the last one. That’s the best one of all.

    1. Dear Tess,
      Thanks so much! I was hesitant to use it, as it was very touristy, but we had so much fun with that last photo. The background is real, with the photo was taken in the underground cistern in Istanbul, built in the 5th century.
      Thanks so much for the visit!
      Hugs to you!

    1. HI Jill,
      I thought it was really funny. That’s not the shop where we bought the rug, but I so appreciated this sign. Thanks so much for the visit, Jill, and for taking the time to share your kind response.

  2. Wow, it must have been so hard to choose one! It looks like you found the perfect place for it – the room looks so cozy.
    I love the stained-glass tulip windows around the door!

    1. Hi Naomi,
      It was so stressful we forgot to take a photo of the carpet to show the kids (exploring town while we looked at carpets) before they packed it tight into the black bag. We knew if we opened it up to peek before we got home that we would never be able to cram it back in. So for the rest of the trip I felt a little uncertain about our choice. When we got home and fell in love with it all over again, there was huge relief and great rejoicing.

  3. Such fun! The last photograph was the best though. All those smiles too!

    By the way. . . um. . . do you really want to invite a fertility symbol into your house? Think about it.


      1. Wow, Mary! I followed your link to the article about Archer, and that in itself is quite a story–treachery, high drama, etc. Thanks so much for sending it!

  4. OK, I love magic carpet rides, and hot air baloon rides… but I love that last “dress up” photo best of all!

    1. Hi Sue,
      Thanks for stopping by. We had so much fun with that photo! We decided it was a portrait of us all trying to decide where we would go on our next family trip! How is everyone doing? So good to hear from you!

    1. So true! They last more than a lifetime. One of my treasures is my mom’s blue Chinese carpet that she loved and which I grew up with. That is in our rec room, and I think of her every time I see it!

  5. What a story! Everybody wants a magic carpet but can everybody have one? Naomi, you are a proof that if you have enough love for life and people you get a magic carpet. Love for all of you! Dorota

    1. Dear Dorota,
      You are so sweet. Can’t wait to catch up with you. Please give everyone a hug for me. I have been enjoying Rick’s photos on FB, like his new profile pic, with the twins. I look forward to a good catch up. This time lunch is on me!

  6. A Magical post, Naomi. I could smell the new carpets and taste the hot sweet tea! I could almost hear the Turkish music in the background! What a trip. Meg

      1. Hi Dallas,
        I just looked up Altinkum on the map. That is a fascinating area, with so much to see. We were just in Kirazli, saw Ephesus, missed the boat to Greece, and so spent the day hiking in the national park. Now I need to go back and reread the posts of your adventures in Turkey.

  7. You are amazing… carpet made me smile, I haven’t looked in this way, everywhere in here 🙂 just like cats…. I loved your expressions and photographs, and also it is so nice to hear expressions about my country from your eyes… Thank you dear Naomi, love, nia

    1. Dear Nia, Thank you for the visit, and for the very nice comment about the blog. My son is going to be very sorry to leave Turkey, and I can’t tell you how much we enjoyed our visit.

  8. thank you for taking us on the magic carpet ride!! Wonderful images and a lovely story Naomi. I love the image of all of you transformed by the rug genie.

  9. Sat though one of the sales with my brother-in-law who was buying. It is quite and experience. I do remember drinking something much more potent than wine. 🙂 –Curt

    1. Hi Curt,
      This one made me smile. It can be very stressful! We are terrible buyers and great tourists. We just know what we like. Thanks so much for stopping in.

  10. Love when you take me with you and I can travel vicariously through your photographs, Naomi. Thank you. I like your response to the challenge

  11. Hi Naomi – I agree that a good carpet is worth the $ and can last a lifetime – it reminded me of a long time ago when I bought this expensive rug for a classroom I was teaching in – the carpet was hundreds of dollars, I caught a huge sale and well, this maroon, wool beauty – I knew it was too nice for a classroom of middle schoolers, but wanted to use it there anyway – and it was great. added something in the back “reading area” – but the main memory was the cleaning lady – at least once a month she would mention something about the carpet – how hard it was to vacuum, how different it was from the other classrooms, how plush it was to walk on –

    anyhow, I enjoyed each of your photos – I did not know about the tulips, I would not want a carpet that cats have slept on (family has cat allergies and it just felt odd to see that – brand new carpets with the cat curled up – a culture thing for sure) – oh and the dress up pic at the end – love it!! xxoo

    1. also, just had to share this link to wise geek

      Martin Luther King Jr was a Star Trek fan; in fact, actress Nichelle Nichols, who played the character Lieutenant Uhura on the television series, was going to quit the show until King convinced her to stay. Nichols was considered to be symbolic of civil rights movement for portraying an African American woman in a leadership role on television.

      King is said to have told Nichols that Star Trek was the only show he would let his children watch because it had racial diversity in its cast. After that 1967 meeting with King, Nichols went on to continue the role of Lieutenant Uhura on television until 1969, as well as for additional movies thereafter.

      1. Thank you for sharing. I read that story in her autobiography, which I read because Nichelle Nichols was one of my favorite ST cast members. (Just so you don’t think I’m TOO geeky, hers was the only one I have read.)

      2. ha – well I would never think too geeky on a show -because I understand what it is like to be a fan of a good show – completely understand and it is actually a gift – and so sometimes when we make connections and see the layers behind or spinoffs associated – well that just keeps life fun… right?
        and the only carpet I recall as a young child is the classic ABC one – but loved it 🙂
        have a nice week N ❤

    2. I’m sure that carpet in your classroom was transporting for the children! When we were kids we used get on a little rug and pretend we were going on a magic carpet ride.
      I know what you mean about the cats–they are everywhere, and sometimes even wander into the restaurants. (I too am very allergic to cats and dogs and can’t stay at pet friendly hotels.)
      Thanks so much for the visit, and for sharing your story!

  12. I just read a book that took place in Turkey, and carpets were mentioned quite a bit. I guess it wasn’t an exaggeration.

  13. My dear sister, Look at yourself again in the dress-up photo at the end. Did you notice what a strong resemblance you bear to our mother? It’s almost uncanny. I guess it really shouldn’t come as such a surprise, though! (I’d like to see the Mr. Bean commercial and read the Jeffrey Archer story.) Can hardly wait to see you in just a few weeks. Love, Leonore

    1. HI Lee,
      I would never ever have noticed the resemblance! I do remember what a good sport Mom was when dressing up for the historical dinners she let us host at her house. I remember for our Renaissance dinner she wore her green velvet bathrobe and bobby-pinned a doily on her head. Makes me smile to think of her.
      I am looking forward to seeing you too, dear sis!

  14. I know I’d feel compelled to buy a carpet in Turkey, but don’t think I would have as much fun and joy in the experience as you did. Maybe you’ve missed your true calling — maybe you should be a carpet seller!

    1. I am a terrible businesswoman, and would be terrible at selling anything but ideas for future parties or travels to my family. But I am pretty sure that you will want to bring a carpet home from Turkey! Thanks so much for this visit.

  15. Fantastic Magic Carpet Ride, Naomi. So many carpets to choose from, but I’m sure you made the right choice. I loved all your photos, but that last one is the cherry on the top. 🙂

  16. Such wonderful rich colours, those carpets, although am wondering about the stair carpet to the Korean restaurant. Do they roll it up when rains, or doesn’t it ever rain there?

    We have a Persian rug at home, which is my dog’s favourite place to have a roll with a silly grin on her face! She obviously has a good taste in rugs.

    1. Hi Sarah, I wondered that too, and I also wondered about damage from the sun. I’m guessing that it’s very dry there and they don’t have to worry about rain too much. I’m glad you raised a pup with such good taste!

  17. That rug looks incredible! Unfortunately, our cats would love on that rug so much that it wouldn’t live to see another year. I’ll just drool over yours instead. 🙂

    1. Getting the rug was the excuse we needed to switch things around and give the living room a little lift. I do remember what cats can do with their little paws ‘n’ claws! When I was a kid our couch was in total tatters. Thanks so much for the visit, and for the lovely compliment.

    1. Yes, so much meaning and symbolism woven into the threads of each carpet! I didn’t buy my carpet at the Why Not Carpet Shop, but the sign made me laugh when I saw it.

  18. Wow! Naomi there is so much in this … I never knew about the uses of oleander. I love the carpets and their stories and how sturdy they are. No built in obsolesce. A wonderful wonderful post …

  19. What a lovely reminder of your trip. I forgot to mention previously–Eli does look like he is doing well there.

    1. Dear Patti,
      He loved being there, and picked up enough Turkish in his time there to get by. He was very torn about leaving, but had a great job offer at an IB school in Mexico and today is his last week in Turkey. He will be closer to home, and he is fluent in Spanish, although I worry about Mexico too. He seems to do well wherever he is, though. Thanks so much for the visit, and for your thoughtful comments. It’s always good to hear from you.

    1. Thank you for thinking of me–I feel honored! I am just home after a couple of weeks away, and am hosting a weekend workshop and house concert, but will try to respond to this as soon as possible.

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