Nov 6, 2013
The Grand Bazaar was our plan for the last day in Istanbul. People had warned me about pickpockets, rip-offs, irrepressible hawkers and jam packed walkways. None of these happened. Instead the passageways between the four thousand shops were no more crowded than a typical American mall ( I cannot pretend to be an expert on American Malls). It was mid-week with few shoppers. No cruise ships in port. It was not a traditional shopping day. It was perfect.
We finally found the elusive tablecloth. We found a hand embroidered antique design and style in a shop. It took an hour of negotiations and some minor repairs to the heirloom before we left. Very unique and happy to find it. We also spent another hour looking for a couple of pottery pieces from Iznik (Nicea in Greek). Found a couple hand made modern interpretations of 16th century patterns. Enjoyed the dialogue with the shop owner who looked up in his reference books the originals.
Gold is everywhere. The Turkish currency is comparatively unstable so folks buy gold as do the myriad of Russians who deal with an even flakier ruble. We found the actual workshops of some jewelers tucked away in some nooks and crannies. We also really enjoyed looking around some of the original craft “Hans”. We found the rug shop where Harvey Keitel adds to his collection. The shop owner was quite pleasant even after we made it clear that we were not in the colllector rug market.
We wandered the Bazaar a while longer and I managed a cup of Turkish coffee or it should be called soup or even sludge. This is an acquired taste. All in all he Grand Bazaar was fun and educational. Much more fun than a mall.
Dropped off our goodies at the hotel and returned to the Spice Market for one last look for a treasure or two. Found some stuff we could not pass up. I don’t want to reveal what we found but my kids can rest assured that we passed on the I love Istanbul t-shirts.
We over to the rented apartment of a couple from New York that we met on the Bosphorus Cruise. They are teachers who have traveled extensively in Asia. They taught in China and Japan. Very interesting people. Had a couple beers and went out to dinner. They head to India and Cambodia tomorrow while we head home later today. London is a stop over for the night. Out hotel for the night is right across from a couple pubs. I might manage a pint or two. Should be at SFO around 2pm tomorrow.