We are back in Bella Italia and still I haven’t posted on a few beautiful hours we spent in Istanbul enroute from Hong Kong to Venice. We had a twelve hour stopover that allowed us the time to ‘feel’ Istanbul once again. We arrived there on the first day of the protests in Gezi Park. We were blissfully unaware of any disturbance and took our time wandering over the bridge from the spice market, watching the fishermen pull up sardines in the early morning light, the river busy, choofing with ferry boats. We had a gorgeous breakfast on the other side of the river, on the waterfront in the sun, eating hard boiled eggs and beautiful bread and fresh tomatoes and cucumber and olives and goats cheeses. mmmm.
We wandered back through the spice market buying delectable dried fruits before hopping on a tram that took us to the Grand Bazaar. It’s a wonderful place, the Grand Bazaar. I feel like we get a glimpse of history and culture through the amazing assortment of crafts and old finds, like swords and helmets and ancient jewelry, but also the rugs and glass lanterns, the exquisite embroidery on old costumes. And the ceilings are wonderful. Some of the vaulted ceilings are ancient. They are in their unmasked brickwork and their shapes remind me of Rover Thomas paintings from the outback of Australia. Very earthy.
Coming out of one of the many entrances or exits of the Grand Bazaar, we chanced upon the Burnt Column. It was constructed in 330 AD on the orders of the Roman Emperor, Constantine, to commemorate Byzantine. It has really been through the wars, it has been through earthquakes and fires and the crusades and their pillaging and it is probably about a third less in height, yet its presence is awesome, monolithic.
After this unexpected find, we took the tram back down to the waterfront, where we once again got on the bridge to find our tucker. Wonderful. We specially ordered sardines as we had seen them fished that morning, along with baba ganoush and hommus and olives and tomatoes…. and a lovely cold beer before we made our way back to a very crowded and stuffy airport to await our flight home.
Your pictures brought me back to this extraordinary city…..was there in 1998 with my daughter. Our hotel was close to the Great Bazaar, and we went there every day after visiting other sites….we loved Istanbul. My daughter’s two ” best ” friends are Stambuliots, so every evening we had
dinner with them in places we would never have found by ourselves!
I enjoy your blog very much, and admire your art!
Oh, lovely, Catherine! We love Istanbul – we want to stay longer to experience more – it is such a rich culture and there is so much history wherever you walk, to say nothing of the ‘sites’. How lucky to have an inside story with eating there too! Thanks for your comment!
Dear Michael and Shona we fell in love with the Spice Bazaar too having spent only three hours and wanting more. There is a air of Ali Barbar, mystery, whirling Dhervishes mixed with the heady pungency of turmeric in Constantinople . So glad you had a fab time there. Xxx Paul
Paul – we had the best time! I remember you saying how much you loved the spice market and you and Judy were in our minds both time we have been there – absolutely true, Ali Baba and the flying carpets, magic lanterns, genies….. beautiful! xxxx
What a beautiful visual tour of Istanbul, thank you for sharing your special experiences.
Thank you Andrea – I think there is so much to discover in Turkey – I am looking forward to a full adventure there!