So, there was Ange and me, on our first full day in Istanbul, and we had decided to go out on a bit of a jolly around the city. We woke up, and the weather was miserable. And I mean, miserable – come on, I’m English, I know all about miserable weather. That day, it was cold, a little windy, raining and then sleeting. Brilliant. I didn’t even have gloves, because I’d left them at work – more on this story later. We soon found out that our first day was a learning curve – the following days, and indeed, when we briefly returned to the hotel, was spent with two pairs of socks, and for me, two t-shirts.
After looking around Topkapi Palace, and the Blue Mosque, we went for a walkabout. We didn’t have a map, but we figured it would be ok – somehow. On our way, we managed to find a little shop (out of the thousands that we passed) where I thought I’d buy some gloves. Boy, did they suit me well. This was after trying to put on what turned out to be ladies’ gloves. Ah well, old habits die hard.
What you see above is part of the streets that crisscross Istanbul. It’s all rather amazing, and this one is my own photographic creation. Can you not see the dampness on the street? Did I not tell you it was a miserable day?
Below is another great picture, taken by yours truly. Note in this shot, the fantastic Pink Angel shop, of which I’m sure Ange wanted to have a peek in and buy something for herself, but we soldiered on.
Eventually, we started walking into a covered street, and we immediately thought this was the Grand Bazaar. We thought we’d have a look around, as it would be rude not to. My goodness, we didn’t realise that it is absolutely humongous (is that spelt right? Is it even a real word? I’m an English teacher, and I don’t know…). Apparently, there are over 58 covered streets in the Grand Bazaar, and I think we must have traversed around half of them trying to get out. Even though it was February, the streets were still ablaze with traders selling their goods, and often we heard shouts of ‘Hey, where are you from?’, ‘You want pashmina?’, ‘Look my candles, very nice, thankyou, please’. Not kidding. Someone even asked us if we were German. The thought! I didn’t want to take any photos of the bazaar, because it felt kind of, well, bizarre doing it – I mean, it’s like a shopping mall, and who in their right minds takes pictures of shopping malls? I’m sure there are some…
After many twists and turns, we found ourselves out into the light, albeit grey and dismal light, of the outside world, never again to darken the streets of Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar – although I was very happy that we did darken those covered streets.