We had seen so many sites our first day in Istanbul, that we couldn't believe we had only just scratched the surface on this magnificent city! We still had a jammed packed day of major sites to see!! On our list for Day 2 was: The Grand Bazaar, The Spice Market, A cruise of the Bosphorus, and the Turkish Bath. What a line up, right?
To begin, what I loved about Istanbul is that it felt so real, so genuine. Yes, like any big city, there were a lot of tourists. But walking the streets in Istanbul was a pleasant reminder that daily life for the locals was happening all around us! You'll notice below that I snapped a lot of pictures of Turkish men and women just living life, shopping and smoking and eating side by side the tourists! It was great.
Our first stop was the Grand Bazaar! Oh my stars, talk about instant stimulation that just doesn't stop! The colors! The merchandise! The shop keepers yelling at every tourist walking by! It was quite the scene, and I drank it in slowly. I literally saw about 100 things I wanted to buy, but fortunately knew if we bought anything this day, I'd have to carry it around with me the entire trip! So Kevin and I decided our shopping would all come at the end of the trip when we were back in IST.
After the Grand Bazaar, we headed for the Spice Market. In my personal opinion, I actually loved the Spice Market more. It felt more authentic middle eastern! All sorts of spices, dried fruits, and baklava were tempting me to eat them! I'll have you know I picked up a lot of free samples, and as a treat bought some incredible dried fruit!
Then came the scenic cruise along the Bosphorus! The Bosphorus is essentially a straight that separates Europe from Asia, and connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara. We settled onto the top deck of the cruise, and took in the vivid colors of the water and lovely buildings lining the waters edge. (Rick Steve's has a bit of a cruise tour if you want to follow along while on the cruise!)
After the cruise, we headed for our most curious event of the day…The Turkish Baths. I will be sharing more about these baths in another post, but let me just say, they will blow your mind. They are hands down one of the coolest cultural experiences i've ever had! Not to mention i've never been more relaxed!!
To end the evening, Kevin and I found an amazing restaurant that had rooftop seating. We ate a most delicious meal while sipping wine, and staring out at the night time view of the Blue Mosque. Truly, a perfect way to end our day!
As you can see, Istanbul has no lack of sights! More to come soon!! Happy weekend friends!