After a lazy morning, and discovering Andrew’s bag still was lost, Andrew and I made our way downtown to the Spice Market and Grand Bazaar.
The Spice Market was more interesting outside, and not so much for the shops, but for the people and being able to watch those sitting outside, sipping on tea or washing their feet outside of the mosque across the street. Something I know very little about and would like to know more: it seems as though only the Muslim men wash themselves before entering the mosque. Why don’t the women wash their feet? Is it because exposing their feet in public is prohibited? Is there a separate area for Muslim women to wash that is more private? So many questions!
Inside, The Spice Market felt like a tourist trap, and we shied away from buying anything, knowing it was unbelievably marked up. Also, there didn’t seem to be any locals picking up spices, just tourists picking up touristy gifts. It was still fun to walk through though, and fun to photograph!
We walked around town to get to The Grand Bazaar. Andrew kept trying to find some new bandanas in all of the scarf shops, but had no luck. After an hour or so walking around on the cobblestone streets, I realized it probably wasn’t a good idea to walk around town in my thin pair of ballet flats. My feet hurt! We arrived to the bazaar and I couldn’t help but wonder if we were missing something. It, too, felt overly touristy. I was expecting stalls upon stalls with narrow lanes in between. A market you got lost in. A market you were overwhelmed by. A market where you were constantly wide eyed looking at interesting wares you were tempted to haggle over and buy. But… this bazaar felt more like a warehouse than a Turkish bazaar. We MUST have missed something. There HAS to be more to it and we simply didn’t see all of it. There were more stalls of knockoff bags than Turkish rugs and lamps. I was so excited to photograph the lamps, but I only saw one or two storefronts offering them, and I had to get creative photographing them! I was also expecting to be completely torn wanting to buy some fun Turkish souvenirs, but nothing really screamed out to me that it was worth dragging around the country, or paying to ship home. (I’m sure to Andrew’s delight)
It does help that I already have blankets and even a rug (from India), a tea set and tiles (from Morocco), and earrings (from Africa). When you’ve already purchased and shipped so many souvenirs home, it gets easier saying “No” to similar (even when they are equally unique and beautiful) items home. Although I might cave soon and buy some new bags for this trip. These Osprey backpacks have got to go!
Needing an opportunity to sit down and slip my ballet flats off, I suggested we go into a rug shop and pretend we were going to buy one. Instead, we found a rather atmospheric outdoor café that seemed to be only frequented by locals. After tea, and an ice-cream to go, we made our way back to Juliet and Daniel’s place.