Istanbul - part 2 - The Shopping Experience

To go to Asia we took the local ferry. In my opinion, no visit to Istanbul is complete without crossing to Asia. The experience starts with the ferry, half an hour of sheer happiness, sipping black tea, watching the sea-gulls catching crumbs that kids send at them from the deck.

"On the other side" there is an authenticity, a rawness to the atmosphere which I find refreshing. Let's find the market entrance and loose ourselves in its streets:

 Imagine streets of fishmongers, all displaying the catch, gills out to show how fresh fish are

I could spend weeks wondering the markets in Istanbul, even the oldest and largest covered market, the Grand-Bazaar which I don't rate highly can, at times, be fun. To barter, half the price and start from there, even then the price will be a little higher than what it should be but that doesn't matter.

                Examples of souvenirs sold in the grand baazar
The offbeat Cukurcuma area is best for vintage and the up-and-coming designers are based by the Galata tower, for modern mall try the Istinye Park to find the latest of the Turskish designer labels. 

By far my favourite is the spice market, again a covered market, not so warren like that you can't find the right exit. Filled with spices, sweets and firm favourite buys such as carpet bags. 
I once bought turmeric there which was sold to me as saffron root, I still giggle at the young naive me, the worse thing was that, on return, I tried to powder it being so hard, it blew the blender container. I learnt a valuable and expensive lesson.

Let's part with a few loukoms

If you are planning a trip to Istanbul here are a few practical tips to iron out some difficulties.
You are likely to arrive early evening, both airports don't have easy public transport access, arranging a shuttle could save you grief. There are many independent ones which are scheduled to pick up passengers as they arrive.
Istanbul is as safe as any large touristy town. If Turkey is relatively cheap to travel in, Istanbul is not, paying £3 for a cup of undrinkable instant coffee is rather common. Make sure before you buy. But overall, Istanbul is good place to visit and certainly a mecca for shoppers.
Foodies will find a colourful organic farmers market on Bomonti Caddesi in the modern part every Saturday. Best street food if you can ignore the fact that you are eating sheep intestines is a kokorec sandwich
A foodie's blog to read before you go

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