Tuesday, March 7, 2017


A local city guide took us through this 18th century observatory with multiple sundials. He explained how they work.

Just putting his paper where the shadow intersects isn’t as interesting in pictures as his explanations. Everyone compared the sundial time with their watches.

Another ingeniously designed sundial is more complex and gives the time on any meridian  and can give the time all over the world. If you know how to read it. The main thing to understand is the sundials are still accurate to 2/10ths of a second.

This huge complex is divided into the months and constellations that define them, besides telling the time.

So here I am, standing under the Libra arch. On this sunny day you can see the shadows that register the time as the months go by. The dials registers the changes as the earth spins on its axis moving away from the sun and back.

Here Pam stands by her sign which if I remember right was Capricorn.

I wanted to take a picture of Pam and Otto, but this young woman stayed in the picture, too.

Next, we visited a block printing place. The cloth on the table has been hand printed by a craftsman with each part of the design, and each color individually stamped. One mistake and the whole piece is ruined. The boss holds up a small  print of an elephant.

He shows us some of the blocks used in the trade. All metal.

An expert craftsman aligns the next color on that same elephant print.

Now you see an added color, perfectly aligned.

All colors have been added for the final product. You see pink, green, blue, each  a separate stamp plus the original outline. But notice the block print behind how intricate the patterns and imagine the difficulty of doing a whole drape or wall hanging without a mistake. The boss gave the print to Theo.

In that same center we moved on to a rug maker. As you walk through the place, rugs cover the cement floors and everyone walks on them. In this particular company, the rugs have a special figure eight knot that the maker insists can never be unraveled by normal use including owning a cat that may want to dig its claws in. The worker is trimming it expertly with a shears so the rug is solid and flat.

Then we are shown this dirty rug getting a cleaning with a blow torch in one of those don’t-try-this-at-home methods. We watched as he cleaned a patch about 20 inches square.

Kris gets a lesson from a proud weaver who seemed to love the idea of getting away from a monotonous task for a few minutes.

A priceless smile.

This rug shows the backside, where the knots are so fine the back looks as good as the front side. It is an amazing thing to see the work of a handmade rug.

Then we get to visit a showroom. From the talk, the subject of camel hair rugs came up. I requested to see a them.

They showed me a rug that was 90 years old, and another over 100 years old. Still colorful, a few wear spots on the edges. The older rugs are more expensive then new ones. Camel hair rugs are uniquely tough. I couldn’t afford any of those old rugs, but bought a new one mixed with silk fibers. You can keep them in the sun from your window without worrying about the colors fading. It was much cheaper than the hand-woven silk rugs. Well, time will tell.

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