Bizarre bazaars

Hi everyone
Today was a complete contrast to yesterday. We slept late, had a leisurely breakfast and then headed out on a walk with a vague direction called ‘West’ :-) I had a walk in my guide book which took us along a strange road which seemed to be going into a very odd part of town when all of a sudden, it opened up and there was a mosque there called ‘Little Aya Sophia’. It has been recently renovated and was just stunning inside. The paintings all fine and detailed, the carpet really clean, the walls almost freshly painted and the staff (one elderly man) very friendly. After we tackled the ‘hole in the ground’ toilet, we walked a great walkway right on the beach. It was a bit loud but very enjoyable. The sun was shining, there was a light wind and, as usual, the boats/ships were plentiful.
We stopped for a seriously expensive fanta at a garden cafe overlooking the Bosphorous (the sea!). It was tranquil compared to the busy coastal route we had just walked. With enough sugar in our blood now, we headed into town to find the spice bazaar, the smaller cousin of the Grand Bazaar. In order to find it, we ended up walking loads of little crowded streets bustling along with the locals trying to do their Saturday shopping. It was actually so cool :-) You could buy just everything from kebabs to underwear, from curtains to pastries, from pots to materials. Amazingly and with much appreciated help from the GPS, we found the Spice Bazaar. Oh my golly gosh, if you could record smells, today would have been the day. Hundreds of piles of yellow, orange and red spice powders, boxes of Turkish apple tea, boxes of Turkish delight, hundreds of scarves of all colours (sadly not edible), it just goes on and on. We really laughed when we were approached by someone saying they sold poison for husbands. When we explained we have no husband, they kindly offered to find us husbands :-)
When we has toured each aisle, we found ourselves outside the ‘New Mosque’ (which is over 500 years old). We didn’t go in but instead sat for ages watching either tourists coming in, taking off their shoes and placing in handbag and then, if they were female, donning head scarf before entering. What we both found more interesting is the local couples arriving… Woman with full concealing outfit (not necessarily a burka) arrives with husband. She sits in courtyard, man proceeds to go through ritual of washing hands, arms and feet the required number of times before heading in to pray. This was also the place we saw the most covered women and women in burkas.
Time for ice-cream before making a slow way back to the hotel buying postcards on the way. Our hotel offers free coffee and cake in the afternoons so we made it our duty to attend and eat/drink it on the lovely roof terrace.
We took some photos before going back into town to search for somewhere for dinner. We found a really nice place with wonderfully friendly waiters.
We had scrummy flat bread with a garlic creamy dip then I had ‘Hot Wok Lamb’. A delicious lamb casserole- type dish. A sweet apple tea finished off the meal.
A really fantastic day where I felt really in the midst of the locals which I really liked. They are friendly, helpful people.
I would definitely come back :-)
Night night
Colleen x

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