Wednesday, March 7
Once again today, the free time was in the morning so Kat and I decided to go to the Spice Bazaar. The store owners/workers stand outside their respective shops and try to get you in there shop by calling out to you and trying to strike up conversations with you. This can get a bit annoying I must admit. It seems ingrained in their culture to “sell, sell, sell”. The shops were typically quite small with spices hanging from the awnings or topped high in their bins. It was very colorful and interesting to see. We walked around for about an hour and decided to go check out the fish sandwich boats across the street down on the Golden Horn. Our intention was to try the fresh fish out but we had reservations about the strong fish smell and decided we didn’t want to try it at this time. Looking back, I kind of wish we would have been more adventurous and gone for it. Some other people from our group told us they were really good. We took the metro from the Eminönü side of the Golden Horn to the Galata side. Once there we took the Tunel funicular which brings you up the hill near Istaklal Avenue. We hiked up Istaklal for 30 minutes back to the hotel so Kat could catch her afternoon lectures.
I convinced Kat and the Hochfeld’s (Jan and Lauren) that we needed to go see the Süleymaniye Mosque. We took a taxi to the mosque which took over 30 minutes due to traffic since it was around 4:45pm – 5:15pm. The taxi dropped us of about a 5 minute walk from the mosque so we hiked it over there down some small backstreets. Once outside the mosque we took a few photos and admired the courtyard area. It reminded me of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom for some reason due to the black birds flying around the minarets. The tile work on the inside was just as impressive as the Blue Mosque from a few days before. The colors on the inside were red, black, and tan for the most part. The Süleymaniye Mosque doesn’t have a nickname from what I could tell. If someone asked me I would call it the Red Mosque due to color patterns inside, etc… seem to be a majority of red. One of the books stated the views were scenic if you went to the outside looking back toward the Golden Horn/Bosphorus. Sunset was drawing near and we were able to take some good shots from the outside courtyard area of the mosque looking back toward Galata Tower and the city. An interesting side note about Istanbul is in some public places you have to pay 1 TL (Turkish Lira) to use the public restroom. The bathrooms don’t always have toilets but are just holes also!!! I have a funny story on this matter but here is not the time or place!
Our next stop was the Grand Bazaar which was about a 10 minute walk. Lauren had been before but the rest of us hadn’t. It was close to closing time in the bazaar so we were only able to walk around for 30 minutes or so. We were on a mission to find a silver shop Kat had read about in one of the books. Unfortunately once we found it, it was already closed for the day. I was able to scoop up a couple of coasters I found interesting for 10 TL each while in the Bazaar.
A group of us were planning to go out to dinner so we rushed back to the hotel around 7:30pm. The Hochfeld’s, Nassar’s, Warneck’s, and ourselves decided to take taxis back over to the Ortaköy neighborhood to try and find a good place to eat. We ended up at a seafood restaurant down by the Bosphorus named Çinaralti I believe. The food was good and Raki was flowing for a few of the crew. They put us near the back of the restaurant, I ‘m not sure if that was on purpose or not! We became the loud Americans by the end of the night I belive! A good time was had for sure. I had a tasty grilled fish dish. I can’t even remember what type of fish it was at this point but it was light. Kat tried the kafte and Jan had horse mackerel next to me. I got some good photos of the meals. After a long dinner, we walked around the corner with a guy trying to get us to buy roses for the ladies. This guy was insistent and followed us for a good few blocks to where we could get a cab. I thought the guy was going to get in the cab with us until we bought the flowers. He eventually left without any of our money (poor guy). That about wraps up day 4. Pictures below!
Outside the Spice Bazaar
Fish stand outside the Spice Bazaar
Spices at the Spice Bazaar
Us outside the Süleymaniye Mosque
Tiles on ceiling of Süleymaniye Mosque
Scenic view from Süleymaniye Mosque
Süleymaniye Mosque at sunset
View of Galata Tower from Süleymaniye Mosque
Kat with the New Mosque in the background
My fish dinner at Çinaralti
Kat’s kafte dinner at Çinaralti