Friday March 9
Today was the last official day of the MBA International Study in Istanbul. The group visited Coca-Cola in the morning and had free time in the afternoon. Once Kat got back to the hotel, a big group of us decided to visit the Grand Bazaar again. Some of the group hadn’t been and Alp’s dad was going to show us the best shopping places for rugs, jewelry, etc… So a group of about 20 of us took the metro to the Çemberlitaş stop and got out. The first thing you see once getting of the metro is the Burnt Column or Column of Constantine. After a brief look at the column, the group was on the move toward the Grand Bazaar. Once in the bazaar, Alp’s dad led us to a jewelry store that would be our “base” to meet up later if everybody went there separate ways. The whole group shopped at a scarf store once inside and it appeared to be a hit as most of the group purchased something from there. Kat was interested in some silver jewelry so they pointed us to a store down the hall. Unfortunately, Kat was unable to find the price she wanted on a bracelet. Next up was the biggest event of the day which was our trip to the Anatolian carpet shop. Alp’s dad took us to the shop because he knew the owners and “negotiated” our prices!!! The shop owners earlier had brought out at least 30-50 rugs while serving us apple tea which is customary in Istanbul. The “negotiation” appeared to be Alp’s dad taking over the shop and telling them what we were going to pay for each item! After a few minutes of back and forth, a price would come up and we would agree. Kat later would say she got caught up in the moment and we ended up buying 3 rugs in total. I believe one is called a kilim that now sits in our downstairs bathroom! We gave one to my mom who had requested one before we left on the trip. The other rug is now in our hallway at the front door so all in all it was a good experience. We think we got a good deal on the carpets! We will always have a fond memory of the trip and the rugs are a good reminder since they are now part of our house!
After the carpet/rug/kilim shopping experience, we all began walking toward the Spice Bazaar. The 10-15 minute walk was downhill which was good. I did however have to carry the bag full of rugs around for the next hour or two. We spent a few minutes in the Spice Bazaar wandering around until it was time for the closing dinner at the Hamdi Restaurant near the bazaar. It was a great closing dinner with the professor and some of the MBA students giving speeches to wrap up the trip. A great ending to the International study for Kat and her classmates. Once back at the hotel, a good bit of the group went out for one last hurrah but we had to get up really early to fly to Izmir so I persuaded Kat to call it a night.