Day One: The Bazaar District
Istanbul Travel Blog› entry 2 of 6 › view all entries
I got out of bed at five in the morning, but before meeting Derk at the airport I just had to do one more thing: turn of all the lights except the moodlight in the shower and have one of the most atmospheric showers of my life, bathing in blue. ;-) Our flight to Istanbul was uneventful besides Derk breaking of part of a tooth before we had even taken off. His questions for a container of water were initially misunderstood by the stewardess. Maybe it had something to do with him telling her several times that 'it needs to be moist!'. Close to noon, we arrived at the Ataturk Airport after a slightly bumpy landing.
After initial confusion about the way the metro worked we figured out how to buy tokens (any trip, regardless of the destination along the line has a fixed price of 1.
We had to wait a while for the room to be prepared and then it turned out that we had one single and one double bed. After waiting for the staff to fix this we decided we'd waited long enough and headed into town. We first checked out the nearby Grand Bazaar. With over 4000 shops and several kilometers of maze-like lanes this must be every shopaholic's wet dream. We wandered around for a while but quickly grew tired of all merchandise and after having a quick kebab we headed out towards Beyazit Square.
We proceeded past the university walls to another mosque, the Süleymaníye Camii. This is supposed to be one of the more impressive mosques of the city but unfortunately turned out to be closed for renovations. We were only able to visit the cemetery and tombs of Süleyman and his wife. Nice but nothing extremely special.
The end of the afternoon found us in the sunken courtyard of the Lale Bahcesi cafe near the closed mosque. Here we enjoyed a couple of cups of Turkish tea and a nargileh (the Turkish name for a sheesha or waterpipe).
Pictures by Biedjee, Derk & Ed. Click here for the story from Biedjee's point of view.