travel | dearsolo goes to istanbul [part 3]

hello friends! i (belatedly) wish you all a merry christmas, happy hanukah, happy kwanza and a general happy holiday season! after being in cape town for a week for my sister’s graduation and all the christmas stress that ensued upon my return to the 011, my laptop took a backseat, and somewhat begrudgingly, so did my blog. it was really nice to not worry about updating the big blog, and just updating the microblogs (tumblr, instagram, twitter, facebook, etc) instead, but as 2015 approaches, i thought i should at least tie up some loose ends, namely, my turkish travels trilogy.

on our second day of travelling, we decided that this would be the tourist day. after our photoshoot (as seen in part two), we set off to the grand bazaar and after being treated to some apple tea in a very nice store owned by a very touchy feely man, many a storeowner tried to sell us some convincing and incredibly lacking fake-designer handbags. but my sister had one thing on her mind: the spice market.

we didn’t anticipate that the spice market was actually so far from the covered bazaar that we initially entered, but in that walk, we really understood the magnitude of the grand bazaar. you can literally find everything you’d ever need in your life in that place, and if you’re not careful, you’ll lose your entire savings in the process. always remember tourist rule number one: always negotiate the price. don’t look like a rookie, because they’ll take you for one.

once in the spice market, you may find yourself overwhelmed with men taking your photo (if you’re black), men touching your hair (if you have braids), and men asking you on dates (if you’re just a woman, really) – but what should find your attention is the plethora of spices, raw teas and turkish delights. tourist pro tip: always ask to taste the turkish delight – not because you don’t trust them, but because free things are always nice 🙂 (the pomegranate & pistachio ones are amazing, by the way). i ended up taking home some istanbul tea and turkish delight, whereas my sister basically brought everything home with us. we also bought syrian aged soap, which is amazing because due to the conflict there, it’s very hard to come across. pity i’m a shower-gel type of gal, though. 

one thing i noticed about istanbul is that there are so many stray cats. not only that – they look so, like, clean and well looked after. i literally only saw 2 dogs in that city per 50 cats. any who, we took a cab to see the Sultan Ahmed/Blue Mosque, and although the tourist entrance had a queue 4059 miles long (and prayers had just ended), we still got to walk around the courtyard and see the beautiful structure and garden. we also saw the Hagia Sophia mosque (which the pope was at on that very day, but we didn’t see him nor go inside because it was hella cold and the line was hella long, too). i’ve always been fascinated by islamic architecture (abu dhabi, i’m coming for you!!) so it was incredible to see those mosques up close. we also saw the obelisk of theodosius, and you can see my attempt at a selfie with it below.

it was an amazing day – getting to see the history and cultural aspects of istanbul – and turkey is definitely a place i would love to visit again 🙂 thank you for keeping up with me via facebook, instagram or this blog, during my travels!

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