We arrived in Istanbul on a cool, but sunny Sunday afternoon which felt so completely wonderful after travelling around in the heat of Indochina for several months. The Taksim streets were all abustle with weekend markets, locals enjoying a day off…
As we sat people watching in our new environment and enjoying our complimentary Turkish Tea at The Vintage House Apartments we were a little surprised when a flock of sheep made their way through the narrow streets along with people, cats, dogs and cars. Welcome to Istanbul!
Everyday during our 8 day visit in Istanbul, we headed up to Taksim Shopping Plaza with the hordes of other tourists and shopped, ate, hopped on transit bound for new destinations or loaded up on the kids favorite treat in Turkey…Turkish Delights.
To cross the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus Straight which separate both Taksim from Sultanahmet and the Asian side from the European side, we tried it all from walking across the bridge, hopping on a ferry or taking the train. All of which proved to be equally viable options for getting around in Istanbul.
While in Sultanahmen we checked out the Grand Bazaar, one of the biggest and oldest covered markets in the world. There are over 3,000 stalls in the Bazaar and somewhere between 250,000 to 400,000 shoppers…crazy busy! We did not buy a thing from the market as we were told “things” are cheaper elsewhere. We also checked out the Spice Market, where I did have to buy a few “things”.
Sorry my Hofman friends, we found out Holland is not the Tulip capital of the world as we once believed. We visited Istanbul during a beautiful time when millions of Tulips are in bloom and every park is set aglow with colour.
Next I give you some random shots of Istanbul.
Local women enjoying the sunshine on a warm spring afternoon. With 99.8% of the population registered as Muslim in Turkey it is very common to see women wearing the Hijab. As our family has been travelling the world, we have seen many different Hijab styles and I have to say, some of the Turkish scarves are true works of art. Traditionally, Turkish women wear the hair in a high bun under the scarf which elongates the head. The scarves are an opaque material usually made from silk or satin and sometimes adorned with beautiful patterns. They almost always fall to a point in the middle of the back. Super High Fashion in Istanbul and the hijab style reflects that.
Also on our travels, we have seen a number of stray cats and dogs and that trend continued in Istanbul. The noticeable difference in Istanbul however, is the condition of the animals. I mean elsewhere, we have seen some animals in really appalling condition, but in Istanbul all the strays seem to be well taken care of and by that I mean a bit portly. So much so in fact, that at first I did not think they were strays. Everyone in the community seems to take care of the animals and we jumped onboard that wagon and fed the cats while we made our way around Istanbul. Lydia loved that!
And with that, I leave you with this guy. Not sure what is going on here, but it gave us all a good chuckle.