After a much needed night’s sleep to reset our bodies to local time, today was spent meandering among the various sights in the Old City area of Istanbul. We met some friends and then began the tour, covering the Blue Mosque, the Haggia Sophia, the Grand Bazaar, the Spice Bazaar, the New Mosque and the Galatta Bridge. All of them are worth seeing as long as you’re here. I was much more impressed by the New Mosque than the Blue Mosque. Other than being somewhat smaller, the latter mosque was much more impressive, with much more of the interior still in good condition. Of course it is also a couple hundred years newer, so it hasn’t had as much time to deteriorate as the Blue Mosque has.
|Inside the Spice Market|
The Grand Bazaar was impressive for the architecture more than the shopping opportunities. The Grand Bazaar is just huge. The wares in the Spice Bazaar were more fun to look at, mostly because they had piles of spices and other dry goods out on display which are very photogenic. Other than that, there isn’t really a ton to recommend these markets over those in the rest of the world (the cinnamon sticks were bigger in Vietnam, for instance). That being said, they are markets, and if that’s your thing they are worth a stop.
I am starting to get a bit tired of the constant shilling of the shop owners to come inside or to sit at their restaurants. I had one come up and shake my hand today to try to slow me down and that wasn’t cool at all when he didn’t want to let go. Fortunately I managed to avoid an international incident. I’m also trying to come up with enough words in a language they don’t know so that I can just pretend I don’t understand them. I might just make one up and start muttering random grunts to see what I can do, but I doubt that will really work either.
Also, I got the first batch of photos posted finally. The connection here is a bit slow (and we have to leave for dinner) so not all of them are up yet, but you can start here if you want to see a few.
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