We began our day with a trip to the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts. On the walk to the museum we spotted a real fixer-upper. This is very common in Istanbul, which is a vibrant modern city built upon ancient bones.
Our next stop was the Grand Bazaar, which is a vast labyrinthine covered market place with 21 gates and something like 4000 shops. Everywhere that we went were these gentlemen carrying silver trays suspended on chains that held tea. I didn't really understand what was going on with the tea until we were pulled into a shawl shop by an earnest vendor. He was eager to make a sale and offered us tea and seats. Bruce didn't want to accept at first but having been in another shop where we were offered the same thing I accepted. It seemed to me that this was how they did business. We had apple tea, which was delicious, and the shop keeper started pulling out beautiful shawls of cashmere and silk. We did end up buying three after bargaining him down to what we thought was a reasonable price.
After the Grand Bazaar we made our way to the Spice Market. Originally this market only sold spices, but now it sells a lot of other wares. It only has about 800 shops and is shaped like an L. Bruce and I were pretty much shopped out, so we just cruised through and walked around outside. The Spice Market is located on the water next to the New Mosque.
The cruise was a wonderful way to see the city. We traveled north along the European side and south along the Asian side. Just before the northern most point of our trip is the Castle of Europe, which was built by Mehmet II in 1452 as a prelude to his invasion of Constantinople. The ruins of this castle are quite extensive.