SATURDAY, MAY 9, 2009 – 121/24 – DISEMBARK IN ISTANBUL, TURKEY
We need to vacate our suite by 8:00AM so we are up early to finish packing our hand luggage. We do not quite make the 8:00AM vacate deadline (well, our luggage didn’t) but we are out with our luggage, after a final breakfast, by 8:30AM. We catch a cab to the Four Seasons Hotel Sultanahmnet.Our room is not ready but they promise it by 10:30AM, so we wait in the lobby. True to their word, we settle into our ground floor room by 10:45AM. The hotel is very small, well decorated and located…within walking distance, even for us, to all the major sites.
We get organized and set out on foot for the Grand Bazaar. The concierge tells us it is about a 20-minute walk. After a roundabout walk of 30 or 40 minutes down the ally ways behind Hagia Sophia, we find it and spend the next several hours exploring this huge covered market. It covers 200,000 square meters or 1,800,000 square feet. Approximately 5,000 stores and shops are spread out in a giant labyrinth of small streets and passages, which are mostly arranged according to their trades. Every visitor gets lost and has to find his own way out.We are quite sure that everything under the sun, new or old, is for sale here. Dick has wanted a set of gold worry beads since our visit to Athens in 1999, but after getting a price from a store in Mamaris to make them, he changed his mind. We go in a jewelry store in the bazaar looking for a gift, one thing leads to another and nearly two hours later, after hard dealing, Dick is now the proud owner of a set of ruby and gold worry beads! They are very pretty.
We wander around a bit more and finally find an exit and head back to the hotel by way of the park in front of Hagia Sophia. We are hungry and stop at one of the hundreds of cafés along the way for a good “lite” lunch; if there is such a thing in Turkey.
Back at the hotel tired and very foot sore, we take a nap. Carolyn must be very tired since Dick wakes her about 7:00PM. He is hungry and wants some dinner! There are many sidewalk type cafés around the hotel so we pick one and have a good dinner of some Turkish dishes. The night is pleasant and the area has many shops along with the cafés so we walk around for a while watch some whirling dervishes in action then head back to the room.