We should have taken the chaos of the ferries and small boats on the harbour as a warning of what the road traffic would be like in this bustling city. While Simone & Marloejse went on a tour to see some attractions Luke, Louise & Chris set off to explore on their own.
Wanting to reserve some energy for later in the day they started with a bus journey to the Grand Bazaar. As previously mentioned the traffic is horrendous and there appears to be no rules except sit on your horn until someone moves.
The Grand Bazaar is the largest undercover marketplace in the world with over 4000 shops. It also has its own school, post office & police station. Along with the shops are just as many sales people trying to get you into their shops.
After seeing enough jewelry and Turkish carpets to last a lifetime we navigated our way out of the Bazaar and found the Blue Mosque and St Sophia.
While exploring on foot is a great way to get instantly absorbed into a city it is daunting in a city such as this. After a while everyone starts to look dodgy and the constant harassment to buy the “pretty carpet for the pretty lady” gets annoying.
Simone & Marloejse also spent some time in the Bazaar. Simone thought she had done a great job at haggling with a shop keeper only to realize later that he was haggling in Turkish Lira and Simone paid him in Euros (worth twice as much).
Luke, Louise & Chris came across hundreds of locals fishing along a busy city bridge as the sardines were massing in the harbour. Dressed in their business suits they would pull out telescopic rods and pull up as many as 8 sardines at a time and then stuff them into plastic shopping bags – most likely for dinner that night. Even just standing and watching we weren’t away from the selling – they would turn around and offer to sell us their fishing gear.