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Published: April 14th 2012
After our trip to Munich, I was excited to experience a totally different country and culture.
We flew direct from Munich to Istanbul. From the airport we arranged a taxi. You have to pre-pay for the taxi at the airport. We had heard that it is better to pre-pay then to negotiate a taxi rate.
We stayed in the Beyazit district which was very central and walking distance to the grand bazaar. We were on the south side close to the University instead of the north side close to the sea wall area.
The first day we went to the grand bazaar. Istanbul is the epitome of a bustling Asian city. Unlike Europe, the streets are teaming with lots of activity, shops opening up early, call to prayer, bargaining and selling and coffee shops all around. Like many articles or blogs you read, Istanbul is truly a combination of Europe and Asia.
The grand bazaar a huge, touristy indoor complex with a series of shops and restaurants. Istanbul is also known for a lot of fake merchandise. If you are interested in that sort of thing, you will definitely find watches, purses, belts, shirts, etc. with all
the brand names to buy. The grand bazaar has a series of entrances depending on where you are coming from. Take note of the name of the entrance when you enter so you know where you are coming out. I entered off the main street near the bus area where there are many restaurants.
The grand bazaar is a must if you visit Istanbul. It's a vast area, so good shoes are essential to covering off the area. The neon lights, the diverse products that are available, the hawkers trying to see their wares, it’s an amazing experience. For those of you who have been to Asia (India, Hong Kong, Malaysia, etc.) where there are "markets" Istanbul is a cross between the chaos of those markets with some organization and tourist flare.
One thing I would recommend is definitely go in and out of the various entrances of the grand bazar. The many roads outside of the bazaar is where you will find some of your best deals. The inside is must more touristy. The winding roads outside turn and twist into other side roads and alleyways and other shops, you can get lost very easily, so make
sure you take mental note of landmarks so you can find your way back. Another tip, of you find something you think is a good price, buy it! I made that mistake (although it was my first day) and found it hard sometime to find the place I saw the items I wanted to buy!
If you are in Istanbul for a number of days, you may want to do a quick overview of the grand bazaar to take in all of the inventory, then come back another day when you have some time to spend. Budget about 3 hours at the grand bazaar. If you want to really experience the alleyways and winding roads and little kebab shops, budget one day.
Amazing experience. I bought 2 small glass lamps to bring back home. I ended up buying an electric converter from the airport so I didn’t have to worry if they worked when i got home or not. They are a lovely addition to my home.
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