Our local "built in alarm" woke us at exactly 5:31 this morning, even with ear plugs in! There is just NO sleeping through the morning call to prayer, as it lasts for almost 10 minutes!
It was another nice day in Istanbul, partly cloudy and a bit breezy. But no rain for the last two days!
After breakfast at our apartment, we took the Tram to the Grand Bazaar.
This is the main entrance hall, and there are many halls branching off from this. It's a huge maze in there!
The ceilings are nicely decorated:
There are a few restaurants scattered around the bazaar, this one looked like a "food court"
One of the many "streets"
Most of the shops had the traditional Turkish "evil eye" displayed (or for sale!) This one had several embedded in the concrete in front:
The strangest thing we saw were these two carved ivory walrus tusks-note they have Eskimos and sled dogs on them? How did they get to a small shop in an Istanbul Bazaar?
Another side street:
A couple of streets over were many bridal and fancy dress shops, note that the shopkeepers are men! Today we did see a couple of women shop workers-in women's clothing stores.
This gentleman was selling semit to shopkeepers, kind of like having lunch delivered!
We wandered into the wholesale district--it was a bustling place!
These tickled my funny bone, and I really wanted to buy a pair for Dave!
We spent a few hours walking around and around the bazaar and surrounding streets. My verdict: The Grand Bazaar was probably REALLY fascinating about 20-30 years ago! Today--it's very "touristy", filled with fake designer bags, tourist souvenirs, and hoards of shopping tourists just like us! Yes, there are several interesting shops, and I did see many locals shopping. David bought a hooded sweatshirt, and I bought some pomegranate tea and some Turkish Delight candy.
We decided to walk back to our apartment to drop off our packages. Along the way we stopped into a
store selling candy and dessert--we bought some pistachio and walnut baklava for our treat tonight. Here's David in front of their BIG mounds of fresh Turkish Delight:
By now we were both getting tired, so we took the Tram back towards our neighborhood. We decided to get off one stop early, and shop along the way for a couple of dinner items. We watched this lady inside a restaurant window. She was making large lavash "fold overs" and cooking them on the big griddle beside her. She was a master:
We watched her roll out 6 of them, and she used the exact same movements each time--she had quite a rhythm going! Each piece of dough came out the exact same shape and size:
We bought some stuffed grape leaves to go along with our pickles and olives--they were not as good as we've had. The pickles and olives were delicious, though!
We added a couple of simet, a Turkish bread like a big bagel. The dark one covered in seeds was delicious, we'll be buying more of these!
Later we shared a small plate of baklava and Turkish Delight candy. We tried both walnut and pistachio baklava--I liked the walnut best. Turkish Delight candy is kind of like our Applets and Cotlets, and come in many flavors. So far the pomegranate/pistachio is our favorite.
Yet another early to bed night for us--I think that will just be our schedule here in Istanbul since we can't seem to sleep past about 5:30 am, thanks to a certain loud noise each morning!
Tomorrow in Istanbul: A visit to the Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace.