Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sunday April 22 and Monday April 23, 2012

On the ferry from Haydarpasa to Eminonu
  On Sunday we decided to the European side of Istanbul with the other couple from the states to go to the Spice Bazaar. Thank goodness for them because now we know how to at least get over there and back easily.

  We took a 2 minute taxi ride to the train station at Fatih where it costs 1.75 TL or about 97 cents to ride the train to the end of the line at Haydarpasa where the water taxis are located.  It was about an hour ride on the train.  The ferry costs another 1.75 TL and takes about 20 minutes to get to Eminonu which is where the Spice Bazaar is located.  You can also easily get  to other sites such as the Grand Bazaar, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia, and Topkapi Palace from this ferry port.  
View of Istanbul from the ferry

Topkapi Palace


  The Spice Bazaar is a short walk from where the ferry docks and it a very neat place to visit.  In the front before you walk in there are fish, cheese and meat vendors.  The vendors are ready and waiting for Americans and even ask you " how can I get your money".  If you nod and say no thank you they have no problem letting you pass by.  Some are more persistent than others but they are always nice and respectful.  Most shops have at least once person that speaks pretty good English since it is a popular tourist location.  

  You can of course by wonderful spices, but there is also teas, nuts, souvenirs, rugs, lamps, handbags, jewelry, and Turkish Delights, which are like a jelly or honey candy made with nuts.  I found that the prices were not as good for some things as they were in Pendik especially for the nuts but you can haggle with them.  There is also a pet and garden market in the same area where you will find parents and children looking at the fish, birds and puppies for sale.  

One of the many spice vendors

A variety of Turkish Delights

Beautiful lamps

Kilim rugs, pillows, and pottery

 When you walk out the other end you are near the New Mosque and will see the men preparing to go in by washing their feet and then putting their socks and shoes back on.  There are plenty of street food vendors selling roasted chestnuts and ears of corn.  The streets are clean and well tended and you will find small sit down restaurants where the workers welcome you in to eat.  

  We stopped and split a Pide which is basically a flat bread pizza with a mild white cheese.  Our friends had one too but they asked to add fresh vegetable so it came out with tomatoes and some kind of small pepper.  It was delicious as well.  The Pide  has quickly become one of my favorite things.  John got a Doner which had chicken (Tavuk) gyro meat, lettuce and tomatoes rolled in a thin flat bread and pressed.  It was good but needed yogurt or a sauce. 

  Overall it was a beautiful day.  It was wonderful just walking around, riding the ferry, and hanging out with new friends.  We picked up a few souvenirs, stopped and drank tea, and now we are looking forward to going back over to the other side Tuesday.  This time we plan on going to the Grand Bazaar which is the largest and oldest market of its kind in the world. 

  Monday we didn't do much because we had a doctor's appointment in the morning after we ate our breakfast.  Everything is right on track and he suspects that he will do the oocyte collection a week from today.  I start a second injection tomorrow morning which prevents the follicles from bursting prematurely.   After our appointment we went to the Gebze Center and went grocery shopping at Kipa.  We weren't rushed this time so it was nice to wander around and be able to plan meals.  We had fresh fish and a mixture of bulgar and rice with fresh vegetables.  I also made some homemade skillet flatbread. 

Local fish with bulgar wheat, veggies and skillet flatbread

  Fish is very inexpensive here compared to where we live and so is lamb.  John and I both love lamb but it is a treat at home.  I purchased lamb chops and calculated it to be about $10 per pound vs the US which would have been probably  1 1/2 - 2 x that.  It still isn't cheap by any means but since it is just the two of us we can splurge. 
  More on our journey later...

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