A quote from one of our travellers trying to find our way from the Grand Bazaar to our hotel.
17.05.2011 - 17.05.2011 27 °C
A 'free' day in Istanbul - so many things to do - so little time. I think the idea of of today being 'free' is a bit of a misnomer as there were bazaars to visit and bartering to be done.
Some of the group ventured out on their own so I will report back later on their adventures. Our small group took a tour to the Spice Bazaar and then a cruise on the Bosphorus.
First the Spice Bazaar, where we were greeted in the first store with Pomegranate Tea and samples of Turkish Delight! Turkish Delight here is nothing like the Big Turk candy bars at home! Fresh and delicious and not very sweet! There were all sorts of flavours to try - before we bought! We also put a dint in the credit card with our spice purchases; curry, saffron, mixed peppercorns, breakfast spices and more! You could even bring home some Iranian Caviar! The spices were all vacuum packed for their safe journey home.
Off to the cruise. The Bosphorus a unique body of water as it has two tides, one on the top of the water and one below. This creates a unique situation as there are no high or low tides, unlike any other seaside city. We passed both the European side and the Asian side of Istanbul. We also learned today that Istanbul means 'city of Muslims'. It was a great cruise that included views of the 100,000,000 million Lira homes on the waterfront.
We ventured on to the local tram to the Grand Bazaar for some pre- shopping as we are going there again tomorrow. I will give you some more details of the Bazaar tomorrow but it is best described as a maze of 4000 shops. As we exited it was pretty evident that we were in the 'local' side of the market where you could buy thread, buttons, guns, knives, pots, pans, clothes, textiles. You name it - they have it!
With six people all supplying their own opinion on the sense of direction we had a blast finding our way back to the hotel. While we were never lost we did see some interesting sites and arrived safely back at the hotel.
The group attended a presentation from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism this evening. We expanded our knowledge base on how Turkey is marketed to North American. Currently, they spend $78 million dollars to advertise around the world. This brings in over $200 billion in tourism dollars. This is expected to grow to $500 Billion dollars by 2023. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism is a government department that actually turns a profit for the government.
Tomorrow is our last day in Istanbul. I am sure we will make the most of it