Grand Bazaar & Blue Mosque

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Our second day in Istanbul was exhausting, but so much fun (glad I wore my Nikes.) We woke up and went straight to the Bazaar, I thought for sure I was gonna buy a million things and need to come back a second time before the week was over. The truth is though, that as fun as the experience was, once was enough. Afraid of being late and getting lost, we took the metro down to the entrance of the Bazaar. It was still early, but the streets were packed, it seemed as though the rest of Istanbul had the same plan as us. The Bazaar was inside a huge gutted building, lined with countless aisles of vendors selling the same things, gorgeous rugs, antiques, pashminas, jewelry, and colorful lamps I wanted to carry home in armfuls. But the biggest attraction of all was definitely all the high end knockoffs, with their pushy vendors and secret rooms, Fendi bags and Rolex’s were what people came here for. I have to admit the knock offs were good, only given away by their interiors, the leather and stitching was impressive. In the end my big purchase was a beautifully supple, no name, pebbled leather crossbody bag in the most perfect shade of purple…you’ll be seeing it soon ;)

I’m not sure we even made it through the entire building, but after hours of wandering through never ending goodies we finally decided it was time to head back out into the light. We walked over to the Blue Mosque, which was a completely different side of Istanbul. We got there during prayer time so we took advantage and sat for a little while in the courtyard. When people started coming out we jumped up and got in line. Women have to cover their heads to enter, but I came prepared with a scarf so it was no biggie. Of course they have a little stand where they hand out head wraps and robes for anyone who comes showing a little too much skin, men included. Shorts were not allowed on either sex. Upon entering you have to remove your shoes, but they give you plastic bags to store them, and when you leave there are little faucets with benches to wash your feet. It was a pretty neat experience, and it was the most beautiful and traditional mosque that we entered. Afterwards we roamed the streets and entered a couple smaller mosques until we found a cute restaurant to sit and snack before our walk home.

Thanks Carlos for all the beautiful pictures!

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