On Saturday we had two things to celebrate. First, it was my birthday, and secondly,Michael was finished with all of his work in Turkey and could spend the last few days being a tourist.
As we talked about what we wanted to do, I suggested visiting the Suleyman the Magnificent Mosque and Michael suggested visiting the Old Book Market. Since you had to walk thru one to get to the other, we figured that our itinerary was set!!!
The book market was an interesting place, but there wasn’t a lot for us Non-Turkish speaking patrons.
…but it was still fun to look……
Once again, I was enamored with the fountains and wash basins that appear when least expected.
The most interesting thing is that all of these basins are fully functional and are used by one and all…..
After leaving the book market, we kept walking past Istanbul University and ended up in an area of town where tourists are not abundant (ie….our favorite type of sightseeing).
We passed a store that sported shelves of bags of bling….snaps, mirrors, beads, etc and also had these industrial quality “Be-Dazzlers” out front…….
When I looked inside, I could see hundreds of drawers, each showing a different type of button, bead, closure or bling.
I was in heaven as I open the drawers and took a few here and a few there. Each of the bins had a different price on them and I felt that I should keep them all separate, but the shopkeeper motioned for us to keep them together and gave us a bowl to put them in. I thought that he was just going to weigh them all and charge me one price for everything.
However, when I had finished, he poured them in a bag, sealed it tight so that nothing could escape and then motioned that there was no cost. When we protested he said “just a little money” and smiled.
It is once again an example of the kindnesses that we have been shown from the Turkish people!!!!
We now found ourselves in an area that held kitchen supply stores and happily made our way into one to purchase tea cups (well, actually glasses). The shopkeeper was very helpful although he spoke only broken English. He was confused when we kept saying that we were looking for saucers to go with the tea cups, but once he figured out what we wanted, he kept saying the word “saucers” over and over again. Unfortunately, we had taught him to pronounce the word with a good Georgia accent!!!!
He showed us the book that he is using to learn English and we enjoyed our few minutes with him.
We continued down the road and ended up in a shop that sold kitchen equipment. This time we were in the market for a Turkish teapot. I found one that I liked here but we didn’t want to carry it with us for the rest of the journey so asked if we could come back and pick it up later.
We continued down the street and entered the Mosque of Suleyman the Magnificent…….
It is a beautiful Mosque, with lots of bright pastel colors. Most of Mosque’s are decorated with blues and this was so refreshing……
I loved this photo showing this woman sitting and reading the Quran. The fencing separated the worshipers from the tourists…..
Most of the Mosque carpets have subtle lines in them but this one leaves no doubt as to where you should sit and which way you should face!!!
Once again, I am enamored with the arches, windows and light…..
As we were leaving we passed the Men’s station for cleansing…..
We found a great place to view the Bosphorus and I loved the juxtaposition of the blue sea and the domed buildings…..
We returned to our “teapot” store and this time met, not only the proprietor but also his cousin who was currently living in New York. We were offered tea and immediately a boy came in bearing tea cups for all of us. We had a great time talking to the two cousins and were pleased with our purchase of a two-tier teapot.
As we were getting ready to leave, I asked them where they would go to eat in the area (ie….somewhere that would not have a lot of people like us) and we were immediately sent to a small cafe located about a block away.
As we walked up to the front door, we were welcomed in with big smiles. We selected our four dishes from the “buffet” table and then went outside to find a place to sit. Before our food was delivered, a waiter came out and brought us cups of ice cold water…..
….and then moved the umbrella over so that we were completely in the shade. I wonder if they are as kind to all of the patrons as they were to us!!!!
The bread was already on the table, served in a big plastic box…..
My first thought was that it would be really stale, but it was extremely fresh and soft!!
Our food arrived and we happily munched on Meatballs with potatoes, Eggplant casserole with meat, Green Beans and Chick Peas….. Everything was wonderful and we left with our bellies full and our wallet only $12 smaller!!!!
Walking back, we spent a few minutes looking into the various stores that lined the street. Most of these stores specialized in one particular item. This store specialized in light bulbs…… while this one sold rolls of clothing labels. These were mostly fabric care labels, size labels and other things that we couldn’t read…..
We returned to the hotel for a rest time and then decided to take the tram to the harbor area and then walk across the bridge to the Asian side of Istanbul (the Bosphorus Strait splits Turkey into a European and an Asian side).
There were hundreds of people fishing off of the bridge and I loved the innovation that led to this creation….
After we crossed the bridge, we walked a bit along the sea side and observed the birds, people and vendors. This guy was selling “Simit” which is like a bagel except that the dough has been dipped in Grape Molasses and then rolled in sesame seeds. It is slightly sweet and I have enjoyed part of one each and every morning at breakfast…..
As we were walking along one street, we heard yelling and looked up to see these boxes being hauled up to a third floor window…..
The “receiver” of these goods started to unload them but the entire load began to shift… There was much yelling, but the result was inevitable…. Fortunately it looked as if they were filled with Styrofoam cups so hopefully the damage wasn’t too bad.
In order to get to and from the tram stop, you had to use an underground tunnel. I was surprised to find that this was just another mini market with stores carrying an amazing array of goods…….
It seemed that most of the people buying here were locals and not tourists.
As we returned to our hotel, we decided to stop at a nearby cafe for dessert….Baklava, tea and coffee. Who needs Birthday Cake……
And finally, as we rounded one last corner, I succumbed to a store that I had been eyeing off for several days. Thus came the purchase of my birthday present….
We ended the evening with a few more hours on our terrace…..
It was EXACTLY what I wanted for my birthday….a fun day spent with my best friend!!!!