One of my first days in Istanbul I chose to wander around to get my bearings. I ended up in an outdoor market that sold just about everything. It is very lively on this weekend day with a mix of locals and some tourists (like me) wandering the streets. I incorrectly assume this is the Grand Bazaar. I plan to buy some long pants to prepare for my upcoming trip to Egypt but I am overwhelmed and just walk the streets and look around instead before heading back to my hotel.
Days later I ended up back on that side of town and ended up at the Egyptian Bazaar which I also incorrectly identified as the Grand Bazaar. Again I am overwhelmed but this time at the booths selling sweets, teas, and spices. I take in all the spices. For me they are all the exotic spices I love. I want to buy a bunch of of them but most I can get at home and it doesn’t seem wise to add load to my backpack so early in my turkey travels. I vow to come back when I return to Istanbul in a couple of weeks.
I walk on and into another building. I have finally found the Grand Bazaar for real this time and it is grand. It is very large and there are booths selling just about everything. I am mesmerized by the ceramics and the Turkish lamps. Store owners urge me to come in and say they will give me a good deal, but alas I am still not shopping at this point in my trip. I need to be smart about my baggage weight.
I do return to the markets a couple weeks later but I do not buy that Turkish lamp. Logistically shipping it home doesn’t seem worth it and the power supply is meant for European plugs only. I would have to get it re-wired. I kick myself for not buying the battery powered ones I saw in Selcuk. I do buy some nick knacks and some beautiful plates (that I later discover I can probably not use for food serving due to their design – doh! Oh well, they will still look good on display).