Istanbul, Day 3
When we go to a new urban jungle we take in as much as possible. I’d also categorize us as adventurous. We figure it out on our own and are willing to go pretty much anywhere. We got up early this day and ventured out to the old city.
Our first stop was the Hagia Sophia. Built between 537 as an Eastern Orthodox Cathedral. It became a mosque between 1435 and 1931. In 1935 it was opened as a museum. The building is incredible. Always under some kind of scaffolding due to the age. These are the hanging ceiling lights that hang throughout the place.
The next stop was the Blue Mosque. I was pretty sure I had dressed appropriately. I wore a mid-length skirt and had my shoulders covered. I was wrong. I attempted to tell them that in line but trust me the woman who handed me the outfit I have on above was in no mood to negotiate with me.
It was pretty packed inside so it is not easy to truly appreciate its glory.
Afterward we continued over to the Topkapi Palace. Beautiful grounds and several buildings. Each one contains something else to see from textiles to gems. We both thought the grounds of the Topkapi Palace resembled Stanford.
Here are some women waiting in line to get in. What I find to be the most interesting part of traveling is the tourists. You can tell where people are from. Everyone is taking in the scene that they have come to see. It is fascinating.
It was Sunday and not much is open. We walked around the neighborhood and it didn’t take much to realize Sunday is certainly a day for rest. I discovered that there are a few farmers markets on Sunday. Not in the finest of neighborhoods but we figured we would be just fine…and we were. The first market we went to is called Inebolu.
Each of the vendors have these large deep baskets filled with vegetables, fruits, nuts and spices.
It is definitely cherry season because they were abundant.
This market had a variety of mushrooms too.
This was a homemade paste. Not sure what. Nobody spoke English. It didn’t stop me from buying and looking but wasn’t sure I could take a paste home.
This guy was only selling eggs. I love all the different colors. Note that nothing is refrigerated either.
All dried fruit. The apricots are delicious.
I should have bought one of each of these jars and just brought them home. I decided I did not want to carry three big glass jars around all day.
Insanely delicious olives. This was pretty much the end of this market.
There was another one that is not that far away. A taxi drove by and we hopped in and went over to Tarlabasi Market. This neighborhood is not the finest and from what I read is going through a transition so not sure how much longer this market will continue. It is a big market that starts out with food and then becomes a clothing and other wares further down.
Artichoke bottoms already ready for cooking. This is how they are served here. Usually in olive oil after being steamed.
More olives. I was tempted to get that bottle of olive oil but it was in a plastic bottle that was not too solid. I could only imagine coming back to the states, opening up my suitcase and seeing all my clothes drenched in olive oil.
Really good pickled products. I got a few pickles to taste.
I smelled the mint before I saw it. So good.
We were definitely hungry. I thought there might be more things to eat at the market. People making foods but these are pure greenmarkets. Then we both smelled roasted cinnamon. I back tracked until I found where the smell was coming from. These men were taking fresh breads out of a small shop behind one of them vegetable stands. They were lining up breads that I think they were taking somewhere to sell. I came over and asked if I could buy one. They had to find something to wrap it up in and gave me the bread. It was super hot and right out of the oven. Soft sweet cinnamon bread with tiny pieces of cheese melted into it. Sort of like a thick pizza dough.
We left the market and started to walk back to our hotel. We were about 15 minutes from it at this point. Walked by the watermelon truck.
Back to the hotel to re-group. We have taken in the town and it was Sunday. We decided to go over to the Four Seasons on the Bosphorus and stare at the water. It was perfect. This is the bridge that connects Europe to Asia. Pretty cool