Ladies, you would adore the shopping in the Grand Bazaar. You can buy literally eveything there, even Iranian cavair. And you get to bargain for it! My guide took us to some store owners she shops from & told us to offer 45% of what they ask.
We were not harrassed by vendors like we were in Egypt. Where they follow you down the street. They pretty much let us look & left us alone.
When we left, the Istambul Marketing Authority stoppped us & asked us questions about our visit, if we'd come back etc. I think they are aware that western shopping style is not about harrassing people & have passed that on to the store owners.
I can not wait to go back! I need at least a week there.
VLL I think we have similar travel taste! I love Istanbul! I traveled there several years and go and had a wonderful time. I'm dying to go back with my fiance, he is a little nervous about how they treat Americans so since you gave the city a great report I can pass that along!
My friend and I went there and also to Cappadocia and on the coast for a few days, I think we spent a total of about 10 days in Turkey. Istanbul is a beautiful city, with the two amazing mosques, and the food is also fantastic. We also did a day cruise up the Bospherus, did you get to do that? I really enjoyed bargaining and ended up with two little rugs, jewelry, textiles, and a hookah! LOL! At the end of our trip we bought a little bit of Iranian caviar and ate it with crackers and sparkling wine on the flight back. Delicious.
Also, Turkish men are also quite handsome and flirty (of course you were with your DH!)
mmmmm.......Istanbul (not constantinople) LOL.
I met a number of people from Turkey during my 6 months abroad in Florence and two gave me open invites to visit them in Istanbul. I can't to take them up on their offers. So many places, so little time, and money :(
Lee - I went shopping with a group of women so I did experience that the men were very flirty! The turks come from many areas, many look northern european. We were in a rug store, they were going to take us to another location to show us the size we were looking for. A young man who was very blond/blue eyed was picked to escort us. Just to make conversation with him, I asked where he was from & his boss said 'Istanbul. Lady, you need to throw out your old text books." LOL!
I stayed shopping too long so we missed our cruise, we'll do it next time. I want to go back within the next couple of years. Never felt scared or out of place. The country is very secular & saw signs posting this & were told that many times by folks who want Turkey to be accepted into the EU. I'm going to guess its like Iran used to be prior to the revolution in 1979.
We also went to Kasadashi & Diliki, loved both of them. Told DH would consider a vacation home in Kasadashi, who wouldn't. Gorgeous location!
VLL, thanks for the input. I also remember seeing some very handsome Turks with blonde hair and blue eyes, quite a variety of men over there, LOL. I would love to go back sometime soon to visit again.
What a cool post! I can't say that I've ever been to Turkey, but my grandpa is 100% Turk. [He has been living in the US for 40something years]
I have heard that Turkey is very very similar to Greece, but because of clashes between the two countries, they often don't like to admit that. lol
Coming from a straight woman's point of view, I can safely say that from what I've seen, some of the women there are downright gorgeous! In fact, most of them are- their eyes are so beautiful, and they've got that olivey skin. I met a guy named John a few months ago who moved here from Turkey when he was 5, and he had the exact same skin complexion that I do! I really thought that that was something else; NONE of my childhood friends growing up ever matched my skin tone.
The greatest misconception is that all Turks are dark complected. I, however have blue eyes. However, I am only 25% Turk ;D But still. When in Europe I met several Turks who certainly defied that stereotype. You'd be amazed at how many blondes there are who are native.
That's really cool that they treated you well, VLL! I'm really glad. I was always told that they don't like outsiders, so that's really cool to hear different!
Thanks for sharing your cool story! I'll have to put Turkey on my list of places to visit oneday.
Thanks for the post VLL, I'm from Vegas too!
I was born in Istanbul and spent many summers there visiting my grandparents. It is beautiful and shopping is the bomb. I love getting silks, decor items, leather goods, and good luck charms, next time I'm going to get a belly dancing outfit
As a tourist it might suprise you how many people actually know
English, even in non-touristic areas. I always wished tourists would go up the Bosphorus to where it connects to the Black sea there are some amazing fish restaurants, tiny little villages, castles that are almost 1000 years old and gorgeous sunset views.
Actually green eyes are a lot more common than blue, if any of you go towards the black sea area you'll see most people have medium blonde hair with green eyes. the only dark complected people I saw was down antalya where people tan like crazy and people from the southeast. PM me if any of you guys want any advice
Istanbul is one of my favorite cities! My most memorable recollection is that of waking up early in the am to the call/chants to pray from the local mosque, then looking out from my hotel balcony across the Bosphorus as the sun was rising.
Great view! I love the calls to prayer, how they aren't all at the exact same time & you can hear them from different areas it around the city. And sometimes there is an echo. I think this is part of what makes Istanbul exoctic.
I love the Bosphorus too. You can tell by how the water 'waves' that it is very deep, more like an ocean.
I want to go back so bad, told DH am going to talk to a friend (when her house is completed) about going rug shopping there. He said you aren't going without me! I'm making a list of what I want to get.
Hey gorgeous! I am so jealous, I want relatives in Istanbul! lol
Your post was great, everyone about everywhere spoke english. That's why I kept thinking people we met were from Europe. Plus all the light hair & eyes.
I watched 'midnight express' the other day, again. It is so outdated & gives people the wrong idea of what Turkey is like. The drug laws in many countries are what many Americans would think are extreme.
LOVED Istanbul! What a beautiful convergence of east and west. I loved everything about the city, the people, the views along the river, the street food, especially the little fresh fish sandwiches they sold along the bridge on the boats! And the Grand Bazaar, wish I could have shipped everything home with me! I would go back in a heart beat! I only wish I could have spent more time there and visit other areas of Turkey.
We got suckered into a leather shop by one of the locals and could have spent all day there sipping tea w/ him, hahahhaha.
Weren't the leather shops wonderful! Did you go in the one with all the stars on the wall? One of the guys that worked there pointed to Bo Derek & said 'look she shops here!" ;p
They had about every color, design, & the leather was TDF. And the prices! (Our currency was running about 40% higher than theirs.) Leather is high on my list
next time. Along with ceramics (every day dishes) & jewelry. Oh and Iranian caviar.
I think the Grand Bazaar is the best shopping experience I've ever had in my life. The quality of products they have is amazing!
For more info about the Grand Bazaar check out http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Bazaar,_Istanbul
Tell me about the exchange! What a relief from the Euro! On the same trip we also visited Greece and it was truly painful in terms of purchasing power. The hotels in Santorini were beyond pricey (high season). It was highway robbery! So when we saw the hotel prices in Istanbul we couldn't help ourselves but splurge on the biggest VIP suite available at this hotel w/ a view of the river.
I couldn't believe the size and value of the room compared to where we had been. and the food was unbelievably inexpensive. We could enjoy a nice restaurant w/ a view for the price of Chili's here, ahahhahaha.
Sometimes just being in countries where your $$ goes a long was really adds to the enjoyment of the trip .