Thursday, June 21, 2012


Istanbul is beautifully situated on the Asian and European shores of the Bosphorus. The anchorage was known historically as the Golden Horn.

Ferries are constantly zipping from shore to shore and rush hour was very busy. An MSC cruise ship (about twice the size of ours) was docked next to us and two more arrived during the course of the day – lots of tourists in town

We have spent time in Istanbul before so we have visited many of the major sights – St Sophia, Topkapi Palace and the Blue Mosque. All of them fascinating; but today we decided to take it easy and catch the shuttle bus to the city center and visit the Grand Bazaar.


I must say Princess Cruises is very well organized. A local company was hired to run shuttle buses every half hour to-and-fro. There was a team of university students in blue t-shirts who provided direction and answered questions. We bought our round trip tickets ($10 each) and off we went.

Since last we were here the downtown shopping area has cleaned up considerably and has become much more sophisticated while there are still areas where the original vibe continues.

I was also very pleasantly surprised by the Grand Bazaar. It has also been turned into a virtual mall with great character.

It is labyrinthine in structure and you have to try and keep your direction in mind to try and get back to where you entered.

There are hundreds of stores selling jewelry, clothing, scarves and shawls, shoes and candies.

 How you find a reasonable price is a mystery to me. The proprietors always start with a ridiculous price and you have to bargain them down. Ultimately what is the ‘right’ price? I guess it is whatever you feel comfortable to pay?

We did the requisite shopping for interesting items but could not (would not?) afford the absolutely beautiful antique jewelry pieces and Judaica at two sister stores we found in the main passageway. They were selling beautiful Mezuzzas for $350 plus that I was particularly taken with.

After returning to the area of the harbor I sat for a while on the internet and managed to download my photos and upload a couple of the outstanding blogs. More to come from Athens where they apparently have free wireless access in the terminal!

Interesting sight in the harbor – large private motor yachts one of them with its own helicopter! The goooood life

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