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How Bazaar (or what to do on a “rest” day in Istanbul)

Posted by on April 9, 2015

Knowing that travel is exhausting, we have a number of strategically planned “rest days” in our schedule – today was one of them. Our theory, the day can take on whatever form is needed and we needed a sleep in.

After a leisurely snooze, I got up, showered and went to the bakery down the road for a simit and “bagel”, then on to the market for some yoghurt and milk, returning to the unit for a late breakfast. The “bagel” was more like a brioche, but a satisfying breakfast and good start to a cold, blowy and wet day.image

We decided to head off to the Grand Bazaar, a rabbit-warren like maze of markets in the vague hope of finding a Turkish rug that we want to hang on our wall, that we both like and that we could afford.image

After some initial market research a few days earlier, we decided a “Kilm” wast the style of rug we wanted – hand woven, not knotted, and we also had a fairly specific colour palette in mind, so it goes with our polished floors, walls, furniture etc.image

Even looking like you might be in the market for a carpet is a great way to make new special friends. We were cajoled into countless shops, sat down with Apple tea and shown many things that were clearly not what we asked for, were not in the dimensions that would work and were not even close to colours we asked for – they have to try. Leaving the shop is MUCH harder than getting in but we finally began finding styles that were different, high craftsmanship values, striking designs and colours that worked.image

After an exhaustive process of narrowing down things we liked and did not like, it came down to a lovely wool on wool piece with tulips and grains (sorry, not gluten free 😛 ) and then came the haggling. Neither of us are good at this, our normal poker face dissolves into indecision about how far we can push, but are happy that we drove the price down well below that which we has set as our internal budget for the piece.image

Elated we had secured a carpet we both liked (never a certainty), we headed off for some lunch, a type of Doner with large slices of meat on a puffy bread with salad and condiments – delicious. On a side note, we misplaced Jo’s hat and even after retracing steps were unsuccessful at recovering it – I guess that is an opportunity to buy something else perhaps in Venice or beyond.image

We spent a leisurely afternoon getting warm, dry, catching up with family and friends (you gotta get some Skype credit, phone calls from any wifi point to anywhere in the world for literally cents, amazing) and blogging, photo culling and packing.

We have a restaurant dinner tonight (hoping to try Testi kebab/stew – meal cooked in a clay pot and cracked open at the Table) and then leave tomorrow morning for Venice. We have had 2 loads of washing done so are well stocked again with clean stuff, hoping for warmer weather as we head through Italy.

Postscript: Dinner on an enclosed rooftop terrace, a “crackpot” of an ideaimage

The lamb and pepper casserole inside was steamy, succulent and fairly gently spiced, served with bread to mop up the juices – yum.image

Overall a cold and wet day, apparently it is 8 degrees but feels like 3 because of the wind and driving rain. Returning to a warm unit to finish packing what we can and dry out our shoes for tomorrow.image

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