Turkey & Bulgaria

May 23rd - June 6th, 2003



Arbanasi

*work
*Konstantsalieva House museum
*fog


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May 29

Woke up to the sound of bird song, one in particular very close and an unusual call. Drifting in and out of sleep I decided it was saying "C'mon and I'll buy you a beer". It's an odd, round sound. I wish I knew the name of the bird, but I'm not good with things like that. Went up to the hotel for breakfast and for Christina to buy Adriana a slipper to enjoy. We walked back to the house, and are now working in the big room. There was a huge downpour and now it's gray but not raining, the birds are loud and lots of voices in the distance (another children's tour?)

I've been working on inputting edits to the first chapters of Gypsy Davey. Christina's outlining a children's novel at the other end of the room, Adriana beside her, taking a rest from tearing the slipper apart.

Went to look at the Konstantsalieva House museum which is a old house maybe a little bigger than the house we're staying in, though of a similar age. The guidebook says it was built in the 17th century, though the period of furnishing is slightly later. It seems to be set up in a very Turkish style with raised platforms with pillows for seating. A place for tea with a samovar for visitors with a lovely carved wooden ceiling like the one in the room we're sleeping in, and another with coffee settings and an etched plaster ceiling like the room I'm sitting in now as I type this. An office space for the man of the house and another for the women to sew and spin. And a separate interior room for when the women had babies--there they would stay in isolation with the child for the first 40 days. Also saw the kitchen, and the two little rooms with small triangles cut in the floor. People would have to practice to aim through those triangles!

The houses here are all in the middle of large, stone-walled gardens, and the walls are red-roofed, like the houses. I speculate because otherwise the frequent rains would seep through the stones and the walls wouldn't last. The houses themselves are typically stone on the ground level, then plaster and wood above, very medieval-looking, though they're mostly about 300 years old around here. People mostly lived (had living, dining and bedrooms) on the upper floors, while the ground floor was mostly for storage and servants.

Not allowed to photograph inside the house museum, so I don't have any pictures of that.

 

Konstantsalieva HouseA view of the street and the outside of Konstantsalieva House.

 

Konstantsalieva HouseA side view of Konstantsalieva House.

 

Walked through a couple of gift shops, but didn't buy anything but a booklet and Christina bought a disc and some food. Adriana got welcomed by several dogs but had no major altercations.

Came back and got to work again. A serious thunderstorm where the thunder growled continuously, but no sign of lightning. We thought about going back to the restaurant for dinner but it was still wet, and then Adriana asked to go out and I looked up at the time Christina was opening the door for her and we saw that a cloud had come in and we were in the thick of it--but it cleared off in about five minutes. Amazing. We decided to eat our bread and tomatoes and cheese and to work a little longer. In the evening Christina read me the work she had done on her novel so far (an intriguing story about two children apprenticed to a famous Ottoman builder and living in Topkapli Palace). I read her a few of the Scottish poems. Crashed about 9:30. I'm quite the morning girl here--very unusual for me.

 

fog inThe fog comes in. The wee black speck is a bird.

 

fog outThe fog goes out, though there's still a wisp to the right of the house.

 


Bulgaria - 03.05.28 § Les Semaines Index § Bulgaria - 03.05.30

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