Sunday, 28 December 2008

Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar, Istanbul

One part of Istanbul which especially Nitoli was very keen to visit was the huge indoor Grand Bazaar, filled with all sorts of stores. In fact there are more than 6000 shops here spread out on 58 streets - all roofed. The first parts of the bazaar were made in the 15th century but most parts parts have been added later or at some point destroyed and then reconstructed We spent a good deal of hours hiding from the midday sun in the kilometre long lanes of the bazaar.

Cool old shop

Goods on display

Another kind of goods for sale. I can't say whether it is all advertisement hype or it actually works!

One of the busy main lanes

Nitoli at a very cosy Grand Bazaar restaurant, about to enjoy a meal. She was not generally a big fan of Turkish food but I mostly liked it.

Cute little house inside the bazaar. I have no idea what it is for.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Crossing the Golden Horn

The Galata Bridge leading across the Golden Horn. Under the driving lanes the bridge is filled with restaurants. The Galata tower is rising above it all.

As I wrote in an earlier post most of Istanbul's famous attractions are located in or around Sultanahmet south of the Golden Horn. But thankfully we also made our way up to the Golden Horn and beyond and had some truly great experiences there. Whereas there are fairly few standard tourist sights there it is where ordinary Istanbullus come to enjoy life, which makes it a great place to experience the Istanbul of today.

Enjoying a cup of Turkish tea near the Horn

When you cross the Golden Horn you pass the appealing Sirkeci Train Station, which was the final station for the famed Orient Express

Everywhere you see people doing actual fishing in Istanbul. I'm surprise it works, but I guess they wouldn't all stand there if it didn't.

The street of İstiklal Caddesi forms the backbone of Beyoğlu district, and this is where you come to eat, drink and be merry - there is quite a bit of shopping to be done as well plus cinemas and theaters to entertain you. We spent two evenings here enjoying ourselves. But we also took the metro even further north to go to what is allegedly Europe's biggest mall, Cevahir. Nitoli was excited to go, whereas I found it to be pretty much like any other mall - with the exception that it contains an indoor amusement park, including a pretty big rollercoaster.

İstiklal Caddesi.

İstiklal restaurant arcade seen from outside

Same arcade (if I remember correctly) seen from inside. Where atmospheric place.

İstiklal bookshop

Nitoli window shopping for sweets

Some of the goods for display. Yummy!

Nitoli front of a map of Istanbul painted in the metro. The Golden Horn is the stretch of water seperating the top bit from the big land mass in the left part of the picture

The bottom part of the roller coaster in Cevahir mall's underwater themed amusement park

And finally we also managed to make it to a football game in Besiktas - a must-do attraction for anyone who is football interested as Turkish fans are known for their fanatical vocal and visual support. Nitoli is not much of a football buff, but in the end I managed to persuade to go - and she didn't regret it. She didn't pay much attention to the game itself, but found herself plentifully entertained simply from watching the crowds. It was a UEFA Cup match between Beşiktaş and Bosnian team Široki Brijeg. The home side won very comfortably 4-0 and advanced to the next stage.

Eating a snack at the game

Beşiktaş has played through the Bosnian defence and will score in less than a second...

Fanatical supporters celebrating. The atmosphere was incredible and the range of routines these supporters have is quite impressive