Well, it certainly would not be a trip to Istanbul if you didn’t go to the bazaars! Yes, there are numerous bazaars in Instanbul. Bazaar literally means market and there are many to be found. We went to the two most famous: Kapalı Çarşı and Mısır Çarşısı.
The Kapalı Çarşı, or Grand Bazaar, was just that: GRAND. It was an enormous web of stalls, selling everything from handmade objects to jewelry to tshirts. If you didn’t find something, you definitely weren’t looking hard enough! My only complaint about the Grand Bazaar is that we weren’t given any time to look around. I know we were on a tight schedule, but it should have allowed for us to get lost in the throngs on stalls. Then again, perhaps if we had–we might still be in there looking!
The Mısır Çarşısı, or Egyptian Spice Market, was tiny in comparison. However, there seemed to be miles and miles of spices of every variety–if you can name it, you could find it. But the best place? The best place was right by the north eastern entrance: a little old man selling the best Turkish Delight I have ever eaten. It was everything you wanted–soft, chewy, slightly aromatic, and with a hint of flavoring that you could tell was real–not artificial. Our wonderful keeper of the Turkish Delight let us sample the flavors–knowing full well that we would happily purchase whatever we tasted. April and I definitely disagreed on the best flavor, but that’s okay because everyone is entitled to their own wrong opinion. Unless your opinion is that rose Turkish Delight from the Mısır Çarşısı is the best, then you would be right! 🙂
After we finished at the bazaars, April and I were given a few hours of free time while others in our group went on a cruise on the Bosphorus. We went back to both bazaars for a much closer look. As time grew near for us to meet our group, we walked along the Bosphorus and enjoyed people watching.
It was rather bizarre to sit on the shores of the river and look out onto…Europe. Even today, it still seems strange that not only a country, but a city can sit on two continents. But perhaps that is part of the charm that is Istanbul.