Where do I begin?! My trip to Istanbul, Turkey was exotic, amazing and so interesting, it would be impossible to tell you everything I saw and experienced in one post, so I want to highlight one thing at a time.

A Turkish Mosque and one of many spice markets in Instanbul

Istanbul is known for its exotic spices.  The Grand Bazaar,  in Turkish: Kapalıçarşı, is the largest of Istanbul’s’ many spice markets.  The inner area of the Grand Bazaar is like a maze, with tunnel after tunnel (literally 58 winding roads under the Grand Bazaar rooftop) of shops.

Entrance to the Grand Bazaar, tired feet after days of walking around the city’s many bazaars

It was very humbling to be in a place that first opened its doors in the mid 15th Century.  The Grand Bazaar is the workplace for thousands of Turkish sales people, ready to pounce on unsuspecting Americans at any time.  After haggling for nearly an hour, I purchased 2 ‘hand made’ coffee mugs and 2 jewelry trays -which my sister insists is an ash tray but I think it’s too beautiful for that and I use it for jewelry – for about $10 (most shops accept American currency).  I also walked away with a gorgeous silk pashmina for about $20.

The Grand Bazaar was a crazy maze that was really easy to get lost in.  I got separated from my group on several occasions throughout the trip, and I was worried, at points, that I wouldn’t be reunited with them again.  Surprisingly, we didn’t loose a single traveler!

In the photos above you are looking at the Turkish Red Bull on the left, and on the right is the ‘toilet’ in the ladies room.  Notice: No toilet paper…and no real toilet for that matter.  It made using the restroom a very interesting experience.

The Grand Bazaar, along with Istanbul’s many other spice markets and bazaars, was a very interesting, but educational, experience.  I had a blast and I can’t wait to share more of my Turkish adventure with you in later posts!

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