Assalamualaikum and Salam Maal Hijrah buat semua. كل عام و انتم بخير
Day 4: Monday, 25th February 2013
Everyone was looking forward to this day… Grand Bazaar time!
On day 4 of the trip, our family decided to make a short trip to Basilica Cistern whereas the other 2 families went straight to Grand Bazaar. Basilica Cistern is located near the Sultan Ahmet Square. It is an ancient cistern that lie beneath city of Istanbul which act as a reservoir for water storage for the Great Palace.
There are 336 columns in the cistern and if you walked to the far left-hand corner of the cistern, you will see 2 Medusa heads. Both heads are used as a based column with one positioned upside down and the other tilted to the side. The reason why they are placed in such a way remain mystery to this very day. It is an awesome place to visit and definitely a must visit place in Istanbul.
After Basilica Cistern we proceed to the Grand Bazaar via tram. Grand Bazaar opens daily except on Sunday from 9:00 to 19:00. By the time we reached Grand Bazaar it was almost noon and it was packed with people.
Grand Bazaar Istanbul is one of the largest and oldest covered bazaar in the world. The bazaar is truly huge and finding your way out of this bazaar maze is really a challenge especially if you don’t pay attention to where you’re going hehehe . If I’m not mistaken there are 5 major gates to the Grand Bazaar and depending on which gate you take it will bring you to different section of the bazaar. The shops here are more or less are group together into sections, depending on what are they selling, for example leather goods, ceramic and souvenirs, handbags, carpets, antiques, clothes and so on.
What did we buy there? Hahaha… lots of stuff. As always… we would walk around (look see look see hehehe) and find out what are there to buy and then check out their prices. Once we have establish the baseline then only we start bargaining for the items. In order to make a good deal you have to be willing to invest your time in finding a shop that willing to accept your offer… which we were not that willing to do so simply because we traveled with 5 kids and they easily get bored and stress. Having said that, we were quite happy with the prices that we got. Okay… things that we bought at the Grand Bazaar were some ceramic plates, fridge magnet, t-shits, clothes and last but not least… leather jackets. Leather jackets here are so cheap and they do offer an alteration service as long as you are willing to wait for half an hour. If you must know…my other half is a leather jacket maniac and he loves the army type of design and guess what… he found that very design there… so apa lagi beli lah hehehe and the fact that the shop owner was able to alter the jacket hand for him, it really made his day. Senyum sampai ke telinga muahahaha.
After all those shopping… we stop at one of the kebab shop and had our late lunch and….. I finally found a kebab that almost resemble the bebek kebab from Sheffield…. at last sampai jugak hajat hehehe. By the time we finished lunch, the kids started to acting up so we decided to send them back to the hotel and then make a quick visit to Hagia Sophia.
That evening we went to street and revisit the Spice Bazaar.