The grand bazaar

Trip Start Jul 22, 2007
Trip End Oct 07, 2007

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Flag of Turkey  ,
Sunday, August 19, 2007

This week I have spent in Istanbul.  It has been a rather hot week but I have spent most of it in an over-chilled air conditioned office.    I have now had four Turkish lessons and have reached the point where I am learning to conjugate a few verbs which should result in my being able to actually talk to people.  The one problem with this is that I still can't understand what anybody says in return and look blankly back at them.   Tuning in to the language is a skill still to be achieved.

This weekend Marie and I went out to find the Grand Bazaar.   An adventure on the metro, funicular over the Golden Horn, followed by a tram and there we were following the crowd.  Saturday was very hot outside but cool and comfortable in the Bazaar.  The main arcade was full of sparkley things of various kinds and we ventured in to a few shops to try some on.   The excited and expectant shop owners greeted us with offerings of apple tea and produced tray after tray after tray of gold, silver, diamonds, saphires, rubies.   We failed to make any purchases despite tryings on of rings and necklaces.  We were very keen.   We ventured into the leather arcade which was very quiet and were quickly pounced on by shop owners who seemed desperate to bring in any prospective customers and we escaped down an alley.   We wandered further through coloured glass, pashminas, ceramics, more and more jewellery, handbags (!), embroidered slippers, table linen and finally found ourselves with the chatty owner of a shop displaying leather jackets in a fabulous range of colours.    We stayed for two hours, drank several cups of apple tea and emerged eventually having made unplanned purchases of three leather jackets between us.    

Sunday emerged dull and grey.  I thought it would rain and took my umbrella, which would later be useful as a sunshade.   The humidity was phenomenal and we followed air conditioned cafes, shady terraces and air conditioned shops to cool off regularly.     Finding ourselves in the vicinity of a boat about to leave for Karakoy we jumped on board and found ourselves chugging across the Bosphorous to Asia.    Twenty minutes later we landed and followed the crowd to a small market of craft stalls and spotted a cafe for a shady drink.   We spent a happy afternoon watching the world go by before hitting the craft market and make a few more unplanned purchases.

All in a great shopping weekend and there'll be no stopping us now we know what to find in the Grand Bazaar.  Next stop the Spice Market.

Am having difficulty loading some photos this evening, so I will try again tomorrow.
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