The title is what one of the sellers in the Grand Bazaar said to us this morning as we started our grand day of shopping. It’s a pretty great tag line. It gave us a good laugh.
I am feeling better, and recovered enough yesterday to check out the blue mosque, the hippodrome, and the basilica cistern. Fortunately we are staying nearby most of the popular sites in Istanbul, which had made it easy to go see things so far.
The blue mosque was incredibly beautiful, and has spectacular decorations covering every inch of the walls and ceiling. It was very moving. We enjoyed the basilica cistern, an underground cavern that has existed since the 4th century. It held water for the city, and has many hauntingly beautiful columns and is a deliciously cool way to beat the summer heat.
Our airbnb host got us another fan for the apartment, and we did a quick check of the grand bazaar in preparation of our shopping day today. We also stopped at an Ottoman cemetary, which has the “tomb of the sultan” and is near the grand bazaar. Dinner was delicious, and included more free babysitting (for a few minutes at least). D also made a new friend at the park, and it was pretty hilarious watching the two of them chase each other and speak in baby babble to each other.
We pretty much shopped until we dropped with two trips to the bazaar. The Grand Bazaar has over 3000 shops and 60 streets/alleyways. So, you can see why we did two trips. We spent most of the morning checking out shops, deciding what things we wanted to purchase, and getting ideas about prices. We returned after lunch and nap time and bought many fabulous things, and Z feels pretty good about the prices we got on things. It was a pretty good day, and we are glad we decided to end our trip in Istanbul so we can buy awesome gifts without having to carry them around while traveling.
We also had a good laugh this afternoon. Z had read online that you can get better prices if you say you’re from a smaller, or less known country. So, while we were shopping, a merchant asked where we were from, and Z replied “Costa Rica” to test out the theory. As it turns out, the merchant spoke fluent Spanish, which fortunately, I do as well, but lead to some more awkward questions since Z does not speak Spanish at all, or look like he could be from Costa Rica (a red beard makes that unlikely). After we made our purchase (we got a price we were happy with) and walked away, I giggled and smacked Z for putting me in a weird place to explain why he can’t speak Spanish or where we live. We didn’t try that “tip” again.
Tomorrow will be some more sight-seeing with the Aya Sofya and the Topkapi Palace.