The Istanbul Spice Market is right at the edge of the Bosphorus which separates the European side of Istanbul from the Asian side of Istanbul. The Asian side is “newer”, relatively speaking.
Looking towards the Asian side
Looking the other direction towards the mosques
At one point on the trip across you can see the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia at the same time (even on smoggy days!).
Lighthouse. Don’t know if it’s still in use.
Happy to get off the boat!
We stopped for snacks. These were fried mussels–fabulous!
We stopped in this sweet shop–so many yummy things!
Quite the variety–the olives on the bottom had been sugared. I prefer mine salty!
Can you believe the variety of Turkish Delight? Frankly, the difference in taste was pretty subtle.
The street on the way to a Turkish towel seller.
How about this–they make the towels for Williams Sonoma!
Next we went to a huge market where the locals do their shopping.
Something new I haven’t seen before.
Next we had a snack of oysters.
Grape leaves for making dolmas
More grape leaves, but not rolled up
And of course, pickles!
Chatting with a friend over a glass of pickle juice–I’ll take tea, thank you very much!
Pickle juice, on tap!
They pickle everything.
So many olives!
And, of course, the fish section
Huge mound of filo for sale
A much cleaner goat skin for cheese!
This is where we had a very long and lovely lunch.
The table was already set with little mezes for us to try.
They immediately brought out some puffy bread for us–I’m sure this popular bread is mostly flour and water, but it has a distinctive taste.
We went to look at some of the bread puffing up in their oven.
The bread maker and the bread baker.
Samples of drinks to choose from–something red, yogurt, and a “spring” drink.
All the little mezes on my plate before I dug in–humus is in the middle.
Lovely lentil soup
The main course–the big brown blob on the left is stuffed dried eggplant
Cute little boy who was eating outside, opposite our table.
Dessert of dried fruits and cheese and sweet shredded wheat with cheese.
Long lunch over, we headed back across the Bosphorus.
The guy sitting behind us was throwing bread to the seagulls, hence the huge flock of them following our boat.
Panoramic of the coast
Back on the European side, we found that dramatically more people were in the area around the spice bazaar and mosque than had been there in the morning.
This is the actual building the bazaar is in.
The date above the entrance arch. I wanted to go back into the bazaar to buy some soap from Bilge at the spice shop we had visited in the morning. The entrance was so crowded at this time in the afternoon that it took about 15 minutes to get through the gate and we were crammed together as tightly, if not more so, than when we’ve been on any rush hour subway in Asia. It was unreal.
We persevered though, and look, we got to walk past this interesting shop!
Back outside, you can see all the people who were also going in and out of the mosque.
Meredith and I were really tired from all the tours and sight seeing, and the call to prayer waking us up at 4:45 am (it seemed like they were doing it in our room!), so we decided to go back to the hotel and have a night in, with baklava and other street snacks.