Around the World – Day 10 – Istanbul Self Guided Tour (Part II)

Hagia Sophia on Beautiful Spring Day
Hagia Sophia on a Beautiful Spring Day!

Dennis and Clare in "Cistern of Philoxenos"
Cistern of Philoxenos

Dave and Errin in the Grand Bazaar
The Grand Bazaar

Bosphorus Bridge
Bosphorus Bridge

We had so much fun with Errin and Dave on Friday, that we all decided to repeat the process. Lots more walking, must-do-sights, and to top it off, a fantastic cruise on the Bosphorus River!

Hagia Sophia Mosque
From Wiki: “The Hagia Sophia, built by Justinian between 532 and 537, is widely regarded as the masterpiece of Byzantine architecture. It was the largest ever cathedral built in the world for more than a thousand years, until the completion of the Seville Cathedral in 1575, during the Renaissance.”

Huge Gate
A Huge Gate!

The line for the more famous Cisterns was long and it was really hot outside. So rather than suffer through that, we headed to Philoxenos Cisterns (2nd largest). At Philoxenos Cisterns, we were able to walk right up, get tickets, and enter the cisterns with no waiting. The ticket also included free coffee or tea! Bonus!

Cistern of Philoxenos - Offices
There were offices in the Cisterns!

Errin and Dave in the Cistern of Philoxenos
I got this picture of Errin and Dave in the Cisterns. The lighting was really bad but the acoustics were incredible!

After the cisterns, we headed over to the Grand Bazaar. We had all been there before, but it’s the sort of thing which is fun a second time!

My advice for shopping in here, if you must, is to take the price offered by the vendor and cut it in half. This should be your starting point for haggling. The locals can get the items for a third of the offered price (or less if it’s a machine made object), so this is a reasonable thing to do. From there, if they don’t want your business, they will not counter offer. Or they will tell you that their business will fail, wife will kill them, etc…but if they want your business, then they will reduce their price.

Most objects in the bazaar are offered at more than one vendor, so it’s no loss if the first vendor you try doesn’t want your business. When you go to another vendor, you can then bring the starting point up or down, based on the response from the last person. Have a fun time and treat it more like a game.

It helps to look at several objects on a table, so they don’t really know which one you like…keep them guessing. They sell things all day long from people around the world, so it’s more engaging for everybody when you are interested in the various products and ask questions. When a sale finally does happen, you both come away feeling like winners. It’s exciting and entertaining if it is done properly.

Entrance to the Grand Bazaar
One of the entrances to the Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar Map
There are maps posted on columns inside the Grand Bazaar, but they are a bit tricky to spot! Also, there are no clocks in the Bazaar…for these two reasons, the Grand Bazaar reminds me a little of the casinos in Las Vegas. Once you enter; it’s easy to lose track of time and space!

Inside the Grand Bazaar
Shopping Madness!

Dennis and Clare in the Grand Bazaar
Having a fun time!

Grand Bazaar Spice Stall
A Spice Stall. If you want to try the spices, they are more than happy to give you a sample. But, then you must haggle over the price (or risk buying over priced spice).

The Smallest Jewelry Stall
Dave in front of a very small jewelry stall. There was only enough room for one customer at a time!

Grand Bazaar Beautiful Ceiling
The beautiful ceiling of the Grand Bazaar.

After all that walking, we were ready for a break. Time for a cruise on the Bosphorus River!

Sultan Ahmed Mosque
The Sultan Ahmed Mosque. It’s amazing!

Galata Tower
The Galata Tower

Dave and Errin on the Bosphorus
Dave and Errin, cruising on the Bosphorus. What a fun time!

Dennis and Clare on Bosphorus Cruise
Woot-woot! Big smiles.

Dolmabahçe Palace
The Dolmabahce Palace!

Clare and Dennis at Taksim Square
Taksim Square, the site of the recent student protests.

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