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Grand Bazaar in Istanbul

So Bazaar!!!

Trip Over to Istanbul

Built in the 1400s, the world’s oldest department store sits in the middle of old Istanbul. After walking down the hill from our apartment near Galata Tower, we caught the tram from Karakoy across Galata Bridge, past Topkapi Palace, past the Blue Mosque and around the corner getting off at Beyazit. This stop is right outside the Carsikapi Gate, one of the main entrances to the Grand Bazaar (also known as the Covered Bazaar, or Kapali Carsi).

The atmosphere is electric, there is so much to see, unfortunately most of it geared towards the tourist market, but still interesting to see all the tea glasses, coloured hanging lights, scarves, jewellery, etc, etc, etc……

We were soon at the mercy of the many carpet salesmen, trying to lure us into their shops. Some of the rugs are beautiful, but as soon as you show any interest you are almost bullied into shops and forced to listen to their stories of why their rugs are the best. My eye caught a rug design that really appealed to me in one of the shops, the owner launched into his spiel about the silk, the double knots, the time taken to make the rug and how helpful he would be in getting the rug shipped back to Australia for me. I would have loved to own that rug, but from that point on, the more he talked, the more I felt he was leading me up the garden path. His poor assistant was unrolling and showing us rug after rug, and he would have to re-roll them all afterwards. I was told all about the deal he could do for me if I would accept the delivery of 5 other rugs he would ship to a warehouse in Sydney, and my rug would be in that delivery. Much to his denial, I felt I was going to be left with all the customs clearance and import duties on all the rugs, and may never see my rug again without paying all these charges. In order to get out of there I said I would contact my own freight forwarder and get back to him. We left, both of us knowing we would never see each other again.

There was one guy who followed us all over the Bazaar, every time we went into a shop, he waited outside to see if we were ready to be taken to his shop. I asked him to leave us alone, so he moved a bit further away. We had lunch, and when we came out of the restaurant – he was there waiting………….he followed us all the way back through the Bazaar to near gates, I shouted at him which attracted the attention of the security guards, this made him back off and disappear into the crowd.




After walking miles through the labyrinth that is the Grand Bazaar, I became obsessed with a handbag. This obsession opened up a whole new adventure that we had never expected. I won’t be naming names or brands here as the fake trade is not something I want to promote. I had been told that the joke with the locals is that man with the best fakes is rarely around, as he is always in and out of the police lock up!! Maybe I hit one of those lucky rare days?

The first shop I went into and asked if they had the bag in question in black, led the lady working there to start shuffling suitcases around her tiny shop until she had exposed a trap door in the floor. She went down through the trap door and started pulling out the bag in question in every colour, except black. I continued on my search, the next shop only had the bag in red. As I came out of that shop a man associated with the first shop called out to me, “You won’t find what you are after anywhere and will eventually come back my shop, so save your time”. This made me determined to never go back to his shop, no matter what.

In a third shop, after trying to sell me all sorts of other bags, I explained that I was only looking for one type of bag not any other bag. She said she knew a man and ran off. I thought we were now getting somewhere – but no – the man she came back with was the man from the first shop. Disaster!!

Further into the Bazaar I found another handbag shop with the bag I wanted, but it was in black leather with gold coloured fittings, but now I was getting more determined, and fussier. I was now sure I wanted the bag in black patent leather with silver fittings. The lady there tried her best to sell me something else, then realising how determined (or maybe, some might say, stubborn) I was, she asked me to wait because she knew a man (I was dreading the return of the first man). She made a few phone calls, and told me someone was on their way. Rather than give up on me, my friend Christine was also fascinated by where this was all going to end, she was along for the ride too.

Fortunately, a different man appeared saying he would take us to where we could get the bag. We followed him down little corridors, upstairs, through courtyards, back downstairs, down a few more corridors (where were we going? We would never find our way back) until we arrived at an unnamed shop with newspapers stuck all over the windows, we went in and he offered us tea. This was a sign business was about to begin. First he showed me several bags in a different brand, I explained the only bag I was interested in, he disappeared and returned with the correct bag, but again with gold fittings. I tried to like it, but no, I really wanted silver. We drank more tea while he made a phone call.

Eventually a young man came in through a side door, with a sack over his shoulder. In the sack was a box, in the box was the bag – it was perfect – I figured I had found ‘the man’ between arrests. We started talking money, he named his price. I was prepared to pay less than half that, so I knocked two thirds off it. He didn’t kick me out, so I knew we were now going to haggle somewhere in between. More tea was poured, this was now serious.

He lowered his price quite a bit, I raised mine a just a little, he made a phone call, and got out a calculator (just tactics to make me think he was worried about the bottom line on his balance sheet). He lowered his price a bit more, I raised mine, just a tad. He asked me how long I was in Istanbul for, and nearly died when I said I was there for a month. He laughed and told me that usually he can get his price because the customer has to leave very soon on a cruise ship or something, he said he can’t do this for a month – I said, “I can”. He laughed again and made another phone call.

After this call he confirmed that I could pay cash, I could, we haggled a bit more. We got to within the equivalent of five or ten Australian dollars of what I was prepared to pay, he deserved at least that for the entertainment. I called it, the deal was done, cash changed hands the bag was carefully wrapped in tissue, placed into a cotton drawstring bag, then that was placed into an unmarked box, then put into an unmarked shopping bag. He explained that I must never tell anyone who or where he is. He showed us out and told us to go through the door and the end of that corridor and we would be back near the centre of the Grand Bazaar. The way in was clearly to throw us off the trail (it worked!) and I am very, very happy with my trophy. My favourite bag…….ever, not just for the style, mainly for the back story.

Now we were swept up in the crowds heading towards the Spice Market (otherwise known as the Egyptian Market). You know when you are getting close as the exotic spice aromas fill the air. Buy a fresh pomegranate juice on the way in and get ready to taste some of the delicious Turkish Delight samples you will be offered. Unless you are planning on doing some extravagant cooking, the spice stalls are just for interest. You will get to hear the family history and hear all about the combinations of various spices traditionally used in Turkish cuisine. The will offer to package them up into bags that will be accepted through customs when you go home, but as bringing food items into Australia is not allowed, I don’t imagine for a moment that unidentifiable powders and leaves from Turkey would get through! Apart from that, I have never had a use for a product known as ‘Fish Spice’, now is not necessarily the time to start – my life void of fish spice will continue…..

Outside the Spice Market is a very popular coffee shop, with queues of locals going to get their super strong ground coffee to take home. It smells fantastic, but that’s enough for me – even the strong smell is enough to put hairs on your chest. As this is not the look I am after – we move on through the vegetable and fish, on through the kitchen goods, cooking utensils, pots, pans and hardware until we are back near the Galata Bridge, and ready to take my precious handbag home, and have a glass of wine on out roof top terrace overlooking the Galata Bridge to the Bazaar Quarter.

Book a tour on your Trip Over to Istanbul

Itinerary for Trip Over to Istanbul

Flew from Sydney to Istanbul via Dubai, with Qantas/Emirates.

Stayed in an apartment near Galata Tower for a month – rented through Istanbul Place Apartments.

The apartment came with 2 transport cards, that we just needed to top up and we had tickets for all trams, funiculars and the metro.

Istanbul Place Apartments arranged for us to be picked up at the airport on arrival, and taken back at the end of our holiday.

Looking over Piazza dei Miracoli at Pisa Duomo, from the upper level of the Baptistery, with the Leaning Tower peaking out behind it. The Cathedral was completed in 1092!! Then it took a further 300 years to complete the bell tower, that became more famous because of it's lean. . . #pisaduomo #pisaitaly #pisatrip #pisaduomopiazzadeimiracoli #pisa #pisatower #leaningtowerofpisa #torredelpendente #piazzadeimiracoli #solotravel #solotravelinitaly #solotrip #oldbuildingsmakemehappy #historicbuildingsenrichourlives #medievalitaly #italianarchitecture #italianhistory #italytrip #madeinitaly #neverstopexploring #neverstoptravelling #seetheworldthroughmyeyes
The Fallen Angel lying in Piazza dei Miracoli near the Leaning Tower of Pisa. No he didn't fall and hit his head, he was created this way, representing the fragility of life. Who knew angels were so buff?? . . . #fallenangel #fallenangelpisa #piazzadeimiracoli #pisaitaly #pisatrip #pisa #pisafieldofmiracles #fieldofmiracles #italytravel #italianart #italiantrip #madeinitaly #solotravel #solotravelinitaly #neverstopexploring #seeeverythingdoeverything #seekandyoushallfind #seetheworldthroughmyeyes
The black and white marble bell tower at Siena Duomo stands at 77mtrs, the bells can be heard all over the town, the oldest of the 6 bells was cast in 1149. You can't climb the bell tower, thankfully (because I would have!!) But you can go up to the balcony around the Cathedral dome next to it, which I did.....the views over Tuscany are spectacular! . . #siena #sienaduomo #sienaduomobellissimagiornata #belltower #sienahistory #sienatravel #historicbuildingsenrichourlives #oldbuildingsmakemehappy #seekandyoushallfind #seeeverythingdoeverything #solotravelinitaly #solotravel #solotrip #sienatrip #sienaitalia #seetheworldthroughmyeyes #traveltheworldwithme #traveladdict #neverstopexploring
Manly Beach, on the in Harbour side just near where the ferry comes in. . . #manlybeachaustralia #manlybeach #sydneybeaches #sydneyharbour #sydneyharbourwalks #sailingboats #sydneylocal #sydneyweekend #sydneybythesea #sydneylife #sunshine #sydneyaustralia #seetheworldthroughmylens #neverstopexploring
One of the loveliest medieval Italian cities, exploring centuries of tradition. The people are all so nice, and all helped by the beautiful boutique hotel I stayed in @relaisdegliangeli my beautiful home for not long enough 🥺 I will have to go back one day. . . #siena #sienaitaly #sienahistory #italytravel #italytrip #madeinitaly #solotravel #solotravelinitaly #neverstopexploring #seeeverythingdoeverything #seetheworldthroughmyeyes #traveltheworldwithme #traveladdict #medievalitaly
Like most Italian cities, Siena has many churches. This is Basilica Cateriniana San Domenico, still going strong after opening it's doors in 1226!!! . . . #siena #sienatrip #sienahistory #sienaitaly #sienatravel #sienaitalia #basilicacaterinianadisandomenico #solotravelinitaly #solotravel #neverstopexporing #traveltheworldwithme #traveladdict #travelinitaly #oldbuildingsmakemehappy #historicbuildingsenrichourlives #medievalitaly #medievalitaliancity #historicitaly #madeinitaly
Siena is one of the lovliest medieval Italian cities, this is the town hall, Palazzo Pubblico with it's 14th century tower, Torre del Mangia sitting on the edge of the main square Piazza del Campo. I recently spent 3 nights in Siena, and really wish I had stayed a bit longer. I'm sure I'll go back one day to continue exploring this historic Tuscan city. . . #siena #sienaitaly #palazzopubblico #torredelmangia #piazzadelcampo #medievalitaliancity #historicitaly #solotravelinitaly #solotravel #solotrip #italianhistory #italytravel #italytrip #italy #seetheworldthroughmyeyes #traveltheworldwithme #traveladdict #neverstopexploring #oldbuildingsmakemehappy #historicbuildingsenrichourlives
The very detailed front of Siena Duomo, built between 1215 and 1264, in the beautiful medieval Tuscan city of Siena. The Duomo is quite the feature of Siena, both inside and out, you can't get enough of it. The tour into the upper levels really accentuates how enormous it is. If you're thinking of a trip over to Italy, Siena is a must. . #siena #sienaduomo #sienatrip #sienaitaly #sienahistory #sienatravel #sienaduomobellissimagiornata #solotravel #solotravelinitaly #neverstopexploring #medievalitaliancity #medievalitaly #oldbuildingsmakemehappy #historicbuildingsenrichourlives #historicitaly #italytrip #traveltheworldwithme
Bronze sculpture of Maktao, an orphaned elephant, by Gillie and Marc. He's playing with the rest of his herd at Spitalfields Market in London. Click on my website link in the bio to find out about all my finds on my long walk in London. . . . #maktao #theherdofhope #herdofhope #herdofhopelondon #londonwalks #spitalfields #spitalfieldsmarket #london #londonlife #ifoundparadise #londontravel #londontrip #londonhistory #londoncalling #londonisalwaysagoodidea #londonstreets #londonsbest #seekandyoushallfind #seetheworldthroughmyeyes #traveltheworldwithme
Inside Siena Duomo, the black and white marble soaring up to the ceiling, I can't imagine how they built this way back in the 1200s. You can go up to the upper level and look down into the Cathedral from the little windows in the top right of my photo. . . #siena #sienaitalia #sienaduomobellissimagiornata #sienaduomo #sienatravel #sienatrip #sienatrip #sienahistory #blackandwitemarble #medievalitaliancity #gothicitaly #solotravelinitaly #solotravel #italytrip #seetheworldthroughmyeyes #historicbuildingsenrichourlives #oldbuildingsmakemehappy #seekandyoushallfind
Ponte Vecchio, crossing River Arno, the top level is the Vasari Passage coming from Uffuzi Gallery. Ponte Vecchio started off as butcher shops, the waste product being thrown into the river, the stench was said to be unbearable. Now mainly jewellery shops, not smelly at all!!! . . #florence #florenceitaly #florencetrip #florencewalk #florencetravel #italytrip #solotravel #historicbuildingsenrichourlives #oldbuildingsmakemehappy #seekandyoushallfind #pontevecchio #pontevecchiofirenze #riverarno #reflectiononwaterisbeautiful #traveltheworldworldwithme #traveladdict
It was really hard taking photos of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the temptation to line it up straight in the lens is something I struggled with, having it next to a straight building helps!!! . . . #leaningtower #leaningtowerofpisa #torredelpendente #pisaitaly #piazzadelmiracoli #pisaduomo #pisatrip #pisaduomopiazzadeimiracoli #pisa #pisaitaly #italianarchitecture #italianhistory #madeinitaly #solotravel #solotravelinitaly #neverstopexploring #medievalitaliancity #historicitaly #italytrip #oldbuildingsmakemehappy #historicbuildingsenrichourlives
Siena's Torre del Mangia as seen from the dome of Siena Duomo, with the beautiful Tuscan countryside rolling out past the Siena city walls. . . #siena #sienatravel #sienaitaly #sienaduomo #sienatrip #sienaitalia #torredelmangia #solotravelinitaly #solotravel #italytrip #historicbuildingsenrichourlives #oldbuildingsmakemehappy #seetheworldthroughmyeyes #traveltheworldwithme #medievalitaliancity #medievalitaly #italianarchitecture #madeinitaly #viewfromthedome
Castello San Giorgio in La Spezia has been protecting this part of Italy since 1262, it now houses a museum and a fabulous view from the top. There is a lift up from the town area, then cross the road and jump on to the funicular to get up to the castle, or if you're feel fit, there are steps, many, many of them!! La Spezia is just south of Cinque Terre, therefore an excellent base to see this area from. . . #laspezia #laspeziaitaly #castellosangiorgio #castellosangiorgiolaspezia #solotravelinitaly #solotrip #italianhistory #seeeverythingdoeverything #seetheworldthroughmyeyes #traveladdict #travelinitaly #oldbuildingsmakemehappy #historicbuildingsenrichourlives #solotravel #neverstopexploring #medievalitaly
La Spezia, taken from the foot bridge out on the Marina. The ferries are waiting to head up the coast to the villages of Cinque Terre, and the palm trees along the water front providing shade for the park. Lovely place 🥂!! . . #laspeziaitaly #laspeziaharbourside #laspezia #italianferries #italianferries #italytrip #solotravelinitaly #solotrip #solotravel #solotravelingisfun #traveladdict #travelinitaly #neverstopexporing #neverstoptravelling #seetheworldthroughmyeyes #seeeverythingdoeverything #madeinitaly #boatsboatsboats #myitalianadventure
The statue standing in Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence, is rather unfortunately named The Rape of the Sabine Women, or The Abduction of the Sabine Women, both equally bad, depicting the way women were treated in Roman times. Made from marble in the 1500s by Giambologna for Cosimo Medici. . . . #rapeofsabinewomen #abductionofsabinewomen #loggiadeilanzi #loggiadeilanziinthepiazzadellasignoria #marblestatue #giambolognasculpture #italianart #artinpublicplaces #florence #florenceitaly #florencetrip #florencewalk #florencetravel #solotravelinitaly #solotravelingisfun #traveladdict #solotravel #neverstopexploring #seetheworldthroughmyeyes
The bronze sculpture of il Porcellino at Mercato Nuovo in Florence, rubbing the boars snout ensures you will return to Florence - it works!! This was my second visit, I rubbed his snout again......so looks like I'll be back again 🥰🥂!! . . #ilporcellino #ilporcellinofirenze #florencewalk #mercatonuovofirenze #florencetrip #florencetravel #florence #florenceitaly #italianhistory #italytravel #italytrip #italy #seetheworldthroughmyeyes #traveltheworldwithme #neverstoptravelling #solotravelinitaly #solotrip #solotravel #solotravelingisfun #traveladdict
The Florence Cathedral, Duomo di Firenze, was built between 1296 and 1436, the last 16 years of that time spent building the dome, that can be seen from all around Florence. (There has been a church on this site since 393!) The building is enormous, then add the Baptistry and the bell tower it really is the centre of Florence. . #florence #florencetrip #florenceitaly #florencecathedral #firenzeduomo #duomodifirenze #italytravel #italytrip #italianhistory #solotravelinitaly #solotrip #solotravel #historicbuildingsenrichourlives #oldbuildingsmakemehappy #blackandwhitemarble #florenceduomobelltower #traveltheworldwithme #italianarchitecture
My first sighting of the Leaning Tower of Pisa!! It does have quite a lean to it!! Built in the 12th century, it leaned immediately, but then leaned more......by 1990 it was leaning 5.5 degrees, it was then stabilised back to just under 4 degrees after under going some remedial work. . . #leaningtowerofpisa #leaningtower #pisa #torredelpisa #torredelpendente #solotravelinitaly #solotravel #italytrip #historicbuildingsenrichourlives #oldbuildingsmakemehappy #traveltheworldwithme #seetheworldthroughmyeyes #historygeek #historicitaly #pisaitaly #italianarchitecture #italianhistory #seekandyoushallfind #traveladdict
The very ornate doors to Florence Cathedral, imagine the number of hours it took to carve these, and this is not the only set of doors, there are many, all equally detailed - it's a lost art, or is just too expensive to have beautiful things these days?? . . #florence #florenceitaly #florenceduomo #firenzecityitaly #firenzeduomo #florencecathedral #duomodifirenze #italytravel #italytrip #italianhistory #madeinitaly #solotravel #solotravelinitaly #neverstopexploring #oldbuildingsmakemehappy #historicbuildingsenrichourlives #carveddoors #duomodoors #italianarchitecture #seetheworldthroughmyeyes #seekandyoushallfind
Views over Florence from the roof top terrace at my hotel, the closest dome is Basilica di San Lorenzo and the far one is Firenze Duomo. . . . #florence #florenceitaly #firenzeduomo #florencecathedral #basilicadisanlorenzo #basilicadisanlorenzofirenze #florencerooftops #oldbuildingsmakemehappy #historicbuildingsenrichourlives #solotravel #solotravelinitaly #florencetrip #florencetravel #italytrip #italytravel #traveltheworldwithme #traveladdict #neverstoptravelling
Look at all those steps!! Fortunately, just down the road there is a lift and funicular to get you up to where the castle is. But I suppose if you live half way up, you wouldn't want to forget the milk!! . . #laspeziaitaly #laspezia #laspeziacentro #solotravelinitaly #neverstopexploring #seeeverythingdoeverything #seetheworldthroughmyeyes #traveltheworldwithme #neverstoptravelling #solotrip #steps #manymanysteps #manymanystepstoclimb #solotravel #italytrip #madeinitaly #exploringlaspezia
The foot bridge to the Marina in La Spezia makes for a lovely walk in the afternoon, there are a few bars and restaurants out there too 🥂!! I am so pleased I chose to stay in La Spezia and visit Cinque Terre, and other towns in the area, from there, it's a lovely town and my hotel @hotelfirenzelaspezia up near the station, was fantastic. . . #laspeziaitaly #pontethaondirevel #laspeziaharbourside #solotravelinitaly #solotravel #italytrip #seetheworldthroughmyeyes #neverstopexploring #traveltheworldwithme #traveladdict #laspezia #reflectiononwaterisbeautiful #yachts #outonthewater #beautifullaspezia #italytravel #madeinitaly
Siena's Torre del Mangia can be seen between buildings all over this magnificent medieval city. . . . #siena #sienatravel #solotravelinitaly #sienatravel #seekandyoushallfind #sienaitalia #seeeverythingdoeverything #sienaitaly #sienahistory #sienatrip #torredelmangia #medievalitaliancity #medievalitaly #italianarchitecture #oldbuildingsmakemehappy #historicbuildingsenrichourlives #solotravel #neverstopexporing
This is Musiara, an orphaned elephant rescued after poachers attacked her mum. There are 21 bronze sculptures created by Gillie and Marc now located in Spitalfields, London. I have a new post about them that you can read by clicking the link to my website, in the bio. . . #musiara #herdofhope #herdofhopelondon #bronzeelephants #londontravel #londonwalks #seekandyoushallfind #spitalfields #spitalfieldsmarket #london #gillieandmarcart #artinpublicplaces #bronzeelephantsculptures #sculptureoftheday #sculptureinthecity #londontrip #londonlife #solotravelerstories #solotravelinlondon #traveltheworldwithme #traveladdict
Inside the 1000 year old Pisa Duomo, they knew how to create beautiful buildings back then, and they last forever!!! Similar black and white marble to that used in the much bigger Siena Duomo some 150 years later. . . #pisaitaly #pisaduomo #pisatrip #pisaduomopiazzadeimiracoli #pisa #historicbuildingsenrichourlives #oldbuildingsmakemehappy #blackandwhitemarble #insidetheduomo #italianarchitecture #italianhistory #italytravel #italytrip #madeinitaly #medievalitaly #traveltheworldwithme #traveladdict #neverstopexploring #seeeverythingdoeverything #solotravelinitaly #solotravel #solotrip
Inside the Baptistery next to Pisa Duomo in Piazza dei Miracoli, it seems black and white marble was all the go 1000 years ago, one of my favourites now!! . . #pisaitaly #pisafieldofmiracles #pisabaptisteryofstjohn #pisatrip #pisabaptistery #battisterodisangiovanni #pulpit #pisafieldofmiracles #italianhistory #madeinitaly #medievalitaly #oldbuildingsmakemehappy #blackandwhitemarble #historicbuildingsenrichourlives #solotravelinitaly #solotravel #italytrip #seetheworldthroughmyeyes

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