April 24, 2012

Istanbul Shopping

Shopping ,shopping, shopping, what else is a woman to do :-) I always tell myself that No, I don't need anything else to clutter up this little house of mine, but then when you see something pretty on your travels, you say to yourself " I can't get that back home, and it's so worth it !" haha, yes and that's how we always end up with more things than we need , sigh.

But I have to tell you, istanbul is an amazing haven for shoppers, you can get basically anything. As long as you're prepared to bargain your throat sore, I really recommend it! Here are some of the places I discovered, hope you enjoy the pictures .

First stop, The Grand Bazaar ! 

Beyazit tram stop
A covered old mall purported to house 4000 shops! Mostly ceramics, clothes, jewelery and of course beautiful Turkish Carpets. I found prices to be really inflated so bargain like mad. If you have no intention to buy carpets, decline all offers to even a look see, because once they have you in their clutches, you'll find your wallet much lighter ! 

Spice Bazaar

Eminonu tram stop
Head towards the new mosque and the spice bazaar is in a covered building. This one again is huge and linked to the Grand Bazaar. Beautiful spices and organic tea, especially beautiful saffron. I've never really liked Turkish Delights, but you have to try the real stuff. Buy the fresh ones and they're gorgeous. My fav is the one made with pomegranate juice and pistachios, yum.

Yes, stacks and stacks of yarn!! I've gotten a bit mad with crocheting and knitting lately and I really wanted to see this market (Han ). It was amazing, mostly were acrylic though, but there were some nice wool and mixed blend yarns and really cheap. Just keep asking the locals direction to Kurkcu Han, be prepared for the crowds, we were practically shuffling, it's more of a local market. This place is again behind the New Mosque at Eminonu, near the Spice Bazaar.

Aha, on my way to the Spice Bazaar I stumbled on this street , shop after shop of fabrics! I was a bit stressed though, had the 3 kiddos and hubby with me, so I only managed to ogle at all those fabrics! I did right at the endgo in one shop and grabbed 3 cotton prints :-) yes, am still a fabricholic! 

Istanbul also has many modern malls and shopping streets. They had a lot of the European brands. The must see area is Taksim Square / Medan Taksim with Istiklal Street being the major shopping street.  This place also opens on  Sunday's whereas the old  area does not.  We went to Cevahir Mall, located at Sisli metro stop, beautiful modern mall, seems one of the largest in the world! 

In the background is the New Mosque at Eminonu. I really recommend this Cafe Saray, really yummy food with amazing Turkish desserts and the reasonable prices too, considering that it's right smack in a busy touristy area.

My 3 pieces of cotton , bought under duress ! 

Already missing Istanbul, definitely will have to go again :-) 

That's it for Istanbul shopping. Whatever you do, make sure you do your shopping in town, the prices at Antaturk Airport is 4x that in town and they quote in Euros, horrible.

April 18, 2012

Amazing Istanbul

Hello, weather here in Holland has been depressing 😒 Well I guess it is spring, so rain , rain rain! I desperately needed some sun, so since KL was just too far away, we decided to visit Istanbul ! I've heard so much about how beautiful and amazing Istanbul is so I was really excited. True to all the testimonies , it is an amazing city, a heady mix of western and eastern cultures. Very modern in certain parts but still able to maintain its rich Ottoman heritage in its old quarters. I'd like to share here this amazing city.

I'll start with the Old City, that is the crux of Istanbul and the centre of the Ottoman empire. Travelling by metro and tram is really the best way to go. Traffic is really horrendous and in the Old City, streets are narrow. The tram stop to get off at is Sultanahmet. 

Blue Mosque

Aya Sofia

These two amazing structures are directly opposite from one another. If you plan to visit the Aya Sofia museum, make sure to go early, the que was a mile long ! From here, follow the tram line back down the hill and you will reach the entrance to Topkapi Palace, be prepared to climb another steep hill 😊

Topkapi Palace

This Ottoman palace is set on beautiful grounds, there's also a massive que to enter even at the ticket counter. After visiting Sultanahmet, I would really recommend a few days if you intend to enter any of the buildings. 

We decided to try an authentic ottoman meal at The Han restaurant just down the hill from Sultanahmet, Gulhane tram stop, gorgeous decor and yummy dishes ! 

My boys all tired out from the day of walking ! 

I had spiced lamb and Mr J had Doner

I noticed that Turkish meals are always accompanied by both rice and potatoes.

A map of Istanbuls Old City

Ok folks, stay tuned for Shopping in Istanbul !!!!


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