Grand Bazaar & Cruise on the Bosphorous

Trip Start May 09, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Turkey  , Istanbul Province,
Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Grand Bazaar is the oldest and largest covered Bazaar in the world.  It covers 30,000 sqm with 18 gates, 65 streets, 5 mosques, 6 fountains, 4000 shops and workshops.  Outside every shop are at least 2 male sales people trying to entice every tourist to buy from them.  The cacophony is incredible.  I can't understand how they all survive.  Yes, there are a lot of tourists but a lot are like me - only looking.  The competition is extremely strong.  And there is shop after shop all selling the same.  There are also the same goods everywhere else in Istanbul it seems but one would expect it to be a little cheaper here as the rents must be lower and the potential to sell greater.  The price has to be negotiated mind you - the initial price seems to be at least 3 times what it should be.  You don't want to stop to look at the goods in the window or you get accosted.  Everywhere there are Turkish men - no women at all unless they are the old babushka ladies.  The men are ever so nice and charming until you don't buy (or don't eat at their place or don't leave a big enough tip) then they say nasty things behind your back. Today I decided not to spend so much on my food so I bought a kebab from a stand.  'They were offering 3 different sorts of bread and wanted to sell me the most expensive flat bread that I thought would just fall apart.  I went for the cheapest chicken kebab in the ordinary bread and he commented in a derogatory way "cheap!".  It was cheap but good and tasty nevertheless!! While eating it I sat outside under a shady tree.  Unfortunately a very large pigeon decided to let drop right above me.  You wouldn't believe how much they expel! He seemed to get me in my hair, my shirtsleeve and my back!!

In the afternoon I took a 2 hour circuit cruise up the Bosphorous.  This was the best value for money so far.  It cost 15 TYL which is about $11.50 for 2 hours cruising!  The boat was enormous and very popular so I guess they covered the costs alright.  I was early so I managed to snag a seat right at the very front row in the aft of the boat out in the open sunshine.  The weather was perfect, lovely and sunny and warm but not too hot. The water was full of ferries - as many ferries as there are shops all trying to get your dollar.   I sat next to an american couple.  She had the biggest camera I ever did see but he had something I covet the most.  He had a small leather wrapped sketch book and a pencil and he proceeded to make the most wonderful sketches of whatever he could see.  How I would love to be able to do that.  There was no commentary but they supplied us with a brochure which showed the most important landmarks.  Apart from the usual array of mosques, the bridges were special and there were ancient castle ruins and beautiful waterfront palaces some currently being renovated, There was also some beautiful real estate on the Asian side of the Bosphorous - Willie would have fun here.  

On the banks of the Golden Horn in the Eminonu district they sell "fish bread"  Fresh fish are cooked on moored barges and slapped into buns with salad.  Seems very popular and I must try it.

I don't imagine I will be filling in this blog as much as this all the time.  But at the moment I have the time as I am on my own I have time to fill - after all there is only so much walking one can do in a day. It is strange being on my own.  Some of it is nice because you can do completely as you please - but sitting in restaurants on your own is challenging.  I am looking forward to joining the group in a couple of days time.


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Carissa Howard on

Hi Caroline
Loving reading your blog and seeing the pics. I wish I was there too! Istanbul was my least favourite part of Turkey... And I don't remember the food being expensive - maybe it's just in the city? We did a lot of cooking ourselves, buying fish from the markets and cooking on the roof of the cheap little pensiones..
All is well here. Loving the car and have a new fridge - heaven!! Off to Melbourne next weekend - hope to catch up with Sash, then Bali on the 22nd.

Belinda Poh on

Some say it's a lucky sign you know Caroline!
Your trip sounds wonderful - keep the story coming!
Take care & have fun.
Much love,
Bel xxx

valerie bosman on

I'm so envious. GLAD TO HEAR YOU'RE HAVING SUCH A GREAT TIME! Your pics from the grand bizarre remind me of my brief visit there in 2008. There's never enough time so make the most of it while you're there. Happy sight seeing! love Val.

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