After spending the morning at Sultanahmet Square (previous post) and lunch, Zach and I ventured into the famous Spice Bazaar and Grand Bazaar. The spice bazaar was a series of tiny streets flanked with stall openings overflowing with… stuff. Spices (of course) but also clothes, knick knacks, pottery, shoes, electronics, scarves… the works! It was chaotic, but so fun. We also went to the Grand Bazaar, which is kind of like a mall. It was a labyrinth of aisles with tiny shops on either side for what felt like miles. You could seriously get lost. Thousands of booths!
And gradually over the course of the day, we grew accustomed to Turkish culture. Everyone calls out to you from their stalls. You glance at their wares and they engage in conversation with you and will haggle if you start walking away. The shopkeepers were so friendly and at times it was overwhelming, but we got used to it. And also got some great deals. :-)
|Incredible lights at the Grand Bazaar|
A shop keeper invited us into his store and showed us his "credentials" that apparently attract tourists--an impressive story about him and his store in National Geographic. I have to admit, that's pretty high accolades, so we decided to go in. He sat us down surrounded by rolls and rolls of rugs and served us Turkish tea. This was a first for us. Everywhere you look in the afternoon, we saw Turkish men sipping tiny tulip shaped glasses of tea either on their stoops or engaged in conversations, but we had yet to try it. I was pleasantly surprised--I'm not usually a hot tea kind of person, but this was like magic in a glass with little sugar cubes!
|Our first cup of Turkish tea|
|Our Istanbul rug on the wall|
|Some kind of yummy chicken meal|
Turkish coffee has the texture of hot chocolate, but with coffee grounds. I had mine very sweet, and it was good, but it was very strong. It's interesting to me that they only drink it after dinner--not at breakfast.