When we came to Turkey in July we didn't have much time to visit the spice bazaar. This time I had a meeting with one of the universities in Istanbul and the Rector asked me where have I been, and when I didn't mention the spice Bazaar, he was stunned, so feeling ashamed I told the taxi to take me there. I tell you guys it was one of my best retreats. Rows and rows of shops that has all sorts of goods; from wooden ornaments and kitchen equipments, Turkish coffee cups, fancy spoons, tea cups, pepper grinders, of course spices and sweets. I also found places that sells baby shower giveaways which of course something new for me to do, having a grand daughter on the way.
One thing you will notice that there are little cafeterias in between the shops and alleyways, you cannot but try the fresh juices, and eat the doner sandwiches, tea is sold by men who roam around with a tray holding six cups of tea with two cubes of Suger on the saucer, half a lire each, I took one and then wondered where to put the cup when I am done? A shop keeper offered me a chair when he saw my puzzled look, he asked me to leave the cup by his shop. A very nice old man I must add, his smile was gorgeous until he laughed and I saw his teeth! A bit worse than mine!!!
So the first thing I did was to haggle for the baby shower giveaways. Had fun doing that, and checked the prices in so many shops until I got what I wanted. Then found the spices and teas! A wonder just to look at, the colours were magnificent, and the variety takes your breath away, of course that must happen as the spices were really spicy!! Then I moved to the sweetaries, they had all the varieties that you can think of including the famous Turkish delights and the Halwas. The baqlavas are also so pretty looking, but I thought that after consuming them I will not be that pretty looking with the lumps of fat collecting on various parts of my already chubby body. Hence tried to avoid them even though the shop owners wanted me to try more than I wanted to. I guess that if I lived in Turkey I will seriously be double my size and will not have to spend a cent. For example I saw this shop that sells meat pastry, two lire each, and then he must have thought that I am too fat to have only one, so he gave me the other one for free. Marvelous really!
One thing I tried this time is the trains and the trams.The routes are great and easy, and it costed me 4 lire to go from the airport to the hotel, changed only once. However I may not do that if I had my usual heavy luggage though, as I had to walk longer than 4 kilometres to get to the subway from the domestic airport, and then from the train to the tram which is downstairs and up some steps too. Not easy for me, but if one is in full health I would think that it's doable, and easy on the pocket. I think I will do this often as all the areas that the tourists go to are in close vicinity to where the trams route where. So for example if there were four of you travelling then it's two lire each, but once you hit the five people a taxi will work out better if the distance is within the 10-15 lire mark, however if you are not a person that has lots of luggage, you could save yourself at least 50 lire by taking the train to the airport.
One thing is amazing in Turkey that I thought I must share with you, that is the time they circumcise their children. they wait till the boys are 7 and then dress them up like kings and walk them in the streets for the whole world to know that the little weewee will be filed today, and to make matters worst, every body wants to take photos of these fantastically dressed little fellows! Of course the boys are oblivious to this fact, so they are churpy and happy, running around in the kings-style clothing with their daggers in their pockets, soon they realies that those daggers are the ones that will be used to cut the extras on their weewee . People give giftes, and of course being Turkish, they also have circumcision shower giveaways. I wonder what is inside those packets. I hope it's not Turkish delight?
Wait for me Turkey, I am coming again.