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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

10/8 Istanbul: Bazaar Hopping & A Feast for the Senses

The Grand Bazaar was closed for the first four days of our stay in Istanbul so we couldn’t wait to head over there first thing on Wednesday, the 8th! With shopping list in hand and lots of time, we were ready to lose our way in the Bazaar’s 66 streets and alleys that contained more than a thousand shops, numerous moneychangers and banks, plus its own mosque, post office, police station and hospital; it’s said to be the largest covered bazaar in the world.
On the way though, we saw east of the Grand Bazaar, a burnt column of masonry called the Column of Constatine that was erected by Constatine the Great in 330 AD to commemorate the city’s dedication as capital of the Roman Empire. When cracks in the column appeared over the years, further damage was only prevented by reinforcing the column with iron hoops.The Turks now call it the Cemberlitas or Hooped Column as a result.
Loved the lamps' colors in a shop we passed.
Turkish Tea or Turkish Delight anyone?

Photos from the Grand Bazaar at last! 
The hats on the bottom right are dervish hats.
You can imagine how overwhelming it was seeing literally thousands of these same trivets, coaster, bowls, etc all over Turkey. I loved them but the thought of bringing a handful home which I'd loved to have done was crazy because of the their being so fragile, the weight, not to mention the cost of the shipping. So they're 'alive' for me in pictures alone.

I could have had my pick of hundreds upon hundreds of scarves; again, I found it SO hard trying to figure out which shop to look for them as they all seemed amazing in the sense of having beautiful colors and patterns. Virtually none of them had prices marked so it would have very time consuming to stop at several stores to determine which scarves I wanted only then to figure out the prices might be more than I wanted to pay. Yes, I know - SUCH difficult decisions!

Interesting ceiling in this part of the Grand Bazaar,

Any idea how old this Beetle is, car buffs?

After spending at least a couple of hours getting hopelessly lost in the Grand Bazaar, we needed some time far from the madding crowds for a bit so we were happy to find this pretty park 2 minutes away and also right by Istanbul University
In the park was the Bayezid Tower, a lookout tower originally erected to serve as a fireman’s watchtower in 1749 when wooden ottoman houses posed a constant fire risk. The tower was rebuilt in 1828 having succumbed to fire itself a number of times; it’s till in use today as a fire watchtower and for weather forecast purposes. 
 Felt like we could have been anywhere in the world when we saw these four young university students all glued to their cell phones and chatting animatedly with each other.
 One of the entrances to Istanbul University
 We kept seeing these posters all over town so I asked a fellow in the park who the man was. He said that he’s a popular anti government writer and journalist. 
Interesting monument in the park by Istanbul University.

 A last view of the Tower before walking through another bazaar.

 This man was carrying Turkish tea on his back ready to dispense it at a moment's notice.
Fresh pomengranate juice could be found on almost every street corner.
 These so called evil eyes were everywhere in Istanbul.
Then passed by this pastry shop with the most scrumptious looking pastries one could imagine eating.

Then a sort of cafeteria with all the food and their delicious smells in the restaurant window to entice passersby.

 All around the Million Stone were the names of cities and their distances from Istanbul. It was fun seeing how many of the cities we’d been to.
Walked by this travel agency with posters and photos of some of Turkey’s most popular travel destinations that we’re going to soon: the ancient ruins of Ephesus near Selcuk and hot air ballooning in Capaddocia; we’re not too sure yet about going hot air ballooning,though, having heard of the balloons ‘kissing’ which really is a fanciful term for their hitting each other! 

The woman was weaving a carpet right in front of our eyes. I wonder how much time it had taken her to weave what we saw here. 

Have seen a number of McDonald’s franchises this trip that deliver. Anyone know if there are any in the US or Canada that deliver?
Since only the stalls around the Spice Market had been open earlier in the week, we went back to see the real deal. What a sight for the senses – glad we didn’t miss it!

Before going back to the hotel, I went by myself to the New Mosque since Steven had already been and I really wanted to see it since we had bought a lovely picture of the New Mosque from an 100 year old book a couple of days earlier. 
  It was early evening, about 6ish, when I was there so it coincided with one of the 5 daily prayer times.

The New Mosque, unlike most, had head scarves for women to borrow.
While Steven waited for me outside the mosque, he noticed these huge jars of leeches being sold! The jar which says Kayseri is also the name of a a city in the Capaddocia region we’ll be flying into in about 10 days’ time. 
Nice views across the Golden Horn to Karakoy and the Galata area from Eminonu before catching the bus back.
Good night and sweet dreams to each of you from Cirali, Turkey on 10/14. A