Istanbul, day 2

Our first real day in Istanbul. The free breakfast on the roof of the hostel is pretty great, the views are awesome. The food wasn’t bad either, once Es finished the stale bread and the fresh stuff got bought out. Thanks Es. Filling up on free food, another obvious travel tip.

Our first visit was the Blue Mosque, only a few minutes from our hostel. And wow. So spectacular. The amount of detail on every surface is so beautiful, and on such a large scale. As well as the epic exteriors, this is also when my obsession with ceilings and their domes, arches and patterns really took hold. I’ll spare you most of the photos, but every little piece of them has something beautiful happening.

Istanbul, day 2

Istanbul, day 2

Istanbul, day 2

We stopped in to a smaller mosque on the way in to town, so here’s another ceiling. Everything was symmetrical, which appeals rather a lot. Bex got in to the bartering spirit by grabbing a fez.

Istanbul, day 2

Istanbul, day 2

Istanbul, day 2

Istanbul, day 2

Istanbul, day 2

Zigging across town, we headed for the Grand Bazaar. Which is completely absurd, and full of SO MUCH STUFF – all of it unnecessary, most of it shiny. As you no doubt know, the Turks are a pushy bunch, but it’s a pretty crazy thing to actually experience. Every shop, every restaurant, every stall, every person on the street is quite insistent that you give them your attention, time and money. It’s fun, and, for me anyway, rather interesting to compare their methods and successes against our way of doing business.

Istanbul, day 2

Istanbul, day 2

By now, something else rather extraordinary had happened. I was a god to these people. One guy, four pretty girls. As the others hunted for jewelry in a stall in the Grand Bazaar, the owner put his hand on my shoulder, took me aside and congratulated me, then asked if I knew what a harem was. It was the first of many local discussions of my female conquests. My Turkish nickname is ‘Lucky’. Walking down the street with the girls, I’d be greeted with ‘Hey, Lucky!’. What a country.

Istanbul, day 2

After stopping back home, we wandered across town again to the food bazaar Bex and Lizzie had discovered yesterday. We got stuck in a park after heading in to a museum unknowingly, walked some back streets, through another park, and decided it was time for more food. We took our lessons from last night and made sure we got dippy stuff and a main with yoghurt, so it was yummier than before. And we were plied with plates of free bread. More benefits of traveling Turkey with the girls.

Istanbul, day 2

Istanbul, day 2

Then, the Egyptian Spice Bazaar. HEAVEN. Stall after stall of Turkish delights, fruits, spices, olives, everything. We all got a heap of Turkish Delights and tried some dried fruits. So good!

Istanbul, day 2

Istanbul, day 2

Istanbul, day 2

Istanbul, day 2

Istanbul, day 2

The girls had gotten all excited about the baths, so we headed over the hill to town for them to get all massaged and stuff. The walk was through a pretty run down area of stalls and dodgy guys hunting you down to sell perfume. Bex was keen to get some after chatting with our hostel neighbors, so she launched in to battle. It wasn’t pretty, I wouldn’t it. Lizzie and I instead launched in to a game of looking touristy by photographing old guys pushing carts, which was fun.

Istanbul, day 2

Istanbul, day 2

Some more time around markets in the main part of town, then I left the girls to their girly bath experience and ran 12k around the waterfront at sunset. Rather pretty.

From August 21, 2010.

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