May 19, 2014

Being a Tourist in Istanbul!

There are millions of people that travel to this wonderful city every year to see the sites. We have been here for a few weeks and still had not seen them so we decided that this weekend  we would get out and start exploring.

We went to an outdoor fruit and vegetable market first. It was fun to see all the fresh produce. Tau’aho has a new love for strawberries and oranges so that is fun. The other day he was getting frustrated that Lady Hiva wasn’t peeling the orange fast enough!  He grabbed it and tried to just bite into it with the skin on it. Haha…and he is only 9 months! 

They sold every kind of fruit and vegetable we could possibly want. There were a few people that asked us to take a photo with them and we felt right at home because in the Philippines that would happened every ten minutes.
Next we went down to the old part of the city and saw the Sultan Ahmet Cami (or Blue Mosque). It is beautiful for being hundreds of years old. You can’t help but be reverent while you are in there. Lady had to wear her scarf and they gave her a skirt to cover her legs. The hand-painted blue and red tiles (hence the name of Blue Mosque) are beautiful! They did not spare any details in the architecture either.

Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Cami)

Lady wanted to use the bathroom before we left and it was 1 Turkish Lira to use it. She went in and there were three German women there fighting with the old “bathroom attendant” who wouldn’t take Euros for payment. Lady called me over to give her three more Lira to pay for them and they were SO embarrassed to have to ask for money. But when you have to go, you have to go. All four of them went down into the bathroom (yes, it was in a hole) and when they came out the women were ranting in German about their experience. I don’t understand German but I understood enough that they thought it was dirty, no toilet paper, and smelly. Even Lucky started to laugh with their dramatic hand gestures and huffs of disgust.

The next stop was, of course, the Grand Bazaar. It was started years ago and has organically grown to be HUGE! We were there in the morning so it was quiet. But by the time we left it was CROWDED. Tau’aho loved all the colors and people. He did not want to nap and literally fell asleep in my arms as he was watching a guy sell colorful lanterns. I looked over because he was starting to sway and saw that his eyes had gone shut mid-watching! Poor guy. 

One thing Asia did for us is prepared us to be true bargainers. Istanbul is definitely NOT as aggressive as some of the countries we visited on the other side of the world! We bartered for some lanterns, some spices and some Turkish candy. And made a mental note of all the really cool gifts we could send to people. 

We went down a back road from the Grand Bazaar to the Spice Market (also called the Corn or Eygpt—they are the same word--Market). I am glad we did that because we found all the venders outside where the stories buy  their wares to sell in the Grand Market. It was cheaper back there. And less crowded.

Everywhere we went Lucky was the star of the show. People loved to see him. And now that his time schedule is better he was happy to see them too. One guy even gave him a traditional good luck charm to ward of evil.  I love my little Lucky Dragon.

Lady and I are really liking Istanbul. The people are kind—busy, but kind. The food is delicious—in restaurants, on the street, or a small shop, it doesn’t matter we have loved it all. And the city is clean and beautiful for as crowded as it is. We can’t wait to see where the next adventure takes us!


  1. I'm feeling slightly jealous... maybe we'll need to come visit! And look at all those spices and all that food!
    I love the picture of Hiva looking down at Lucky in the mosque.

  2. Love it, Love it!! So happy to see your pictures. You look beautiful on all. Miss you lots!

  3. Amazing pictures! The street markets remind me of Italy. Looks so beautiful there, and looks like you're having a good time so far!