Day 5 & 6 – The Grand, Grand Bazaar

Oh what a glorious day it was for the people who love to shop. A whole 2 days dedicated for just that. I’m not at all fond of shopping and it was much of a nightmare being in a country that requires you to haggle when it comes to shopping. Luckily for me I had friends who had very quickly mastered this art and I would just lazily ask them to bargain for me but usually they weren’t too successful when it came to what I wanted so I had to master it myself.

Before our great venture we headed to view the famous Galata Tower from which you can have 360° view of Istanbul from high up on the balcony of the top floor. The wind as expected, is strong at the top but the view is mesmerizing – although at 25 Lirah the price definitely could’ve been better as this stopped a lot of people from wanting to go in- another downside is that the tower has been refurbished to offer elevators that take you straight up to the top floor and while this is convenient for most it’s quite a let down for those (me) who want to be heroic and climb to the top. We were already tired by the time we were out of Galata Tower, but then again we were always tired because of lack of sleep.

We travelled by underground and then tram to reach the Grand Bazaar where the shopping began before we even entered. On the other hand I could only think of food so our group was forced to eat lunch before we started our real journey. A long painful but satisfying journey through the intermingling streets of Grand Bazaar. The Grand Bazaar is unique compared to anything else I have experienced. It’s named a bazaar but it is civilised shopping, indoors and on nice floors. It consists of approximately 66 streets and 1 toilet which is cleaned regularly. I feel like it is the westfield of Istanbul but I can’t really say it is, since I haven’t been to a great deal of other bazaars. The beauty of bazaars is that it sells a majority of traditional based products which is the best kind for tourists like us and just like any other shopping centre that isn’t in Europe, the shop owners try hard to get you to set foot in their shop. Usually through flirting (mainly if you are a girl) and sometimes casual conversation that makes you a friend first making you obliged to have a look at what they have to offer. The one thing I really love about foreign shopping are all the colours. Rainbows of colours fill each aisle and you’re never bored of anything to look at. Which brings me on to day 6: The Spice Bazaar.

Spice bazaar was really just a “bonus” to our day as we began by going to yet another palace and then looking at the biggest cistern in the country. The cistern was huge and once again amazing like everything else we’ve done. But we were so tired from the additional walking that when we went to Spice Bazaar we weren’t really in the mood for some serious haggling and struggling. The prices in Spice Bazaar were also significantly more expensive and the employees were significantly more stubborn when it came to bargaining. It was a nightmare – We were told at one point to “Please get out of here” because the employee didn’t like the thought of lowering the price. After finishing up at the Spice Bazaar we finally went back to the hotel and wanted to finish our shopping at the Taksim. The one place we had so frequently visited that the people knew us all too well. Well and then it was time to prepare for our last day in Turkey…

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