Istanbul - with some culture and more...

Poor Elisa had to wake up at 9 AM again... Well, she knew from our first trip together that she wouldn't get her 10 hours of sleep with me!
But we had planned quite a program for the day again.

First I dropped her off at Servet's shop. He's a tailor that a group of my friends and me had been working with for years. He's good and cheap although not always on time. I let her try her best pantomime with him since he only speaks Turkish.

I on the other hand walked down a side street, meeting this friendly fellow on the way.
On a previous visit I had found a shirt shop where I had bought a great shirt for my boyfriend and I wanted to go there again. Unfortunately it was closed although it was already 11 AM!

Well, I just walked on to the shop of Turquoise tango shoes.
The two women there informed me that they were officially closed as well, but since I was already there and a foreigner, they would let me have a look at the shoes.
After some browsing I asked what they had in my size. And since this business is about 100 years ahead in technology from the shoemaker we went to the night before, one of the women went on their website and showed me the available models there. 

I tried on two pairs and bought the model on the left.
On the way back to the hotel I took some different streets. There were dozens of vintage shops, some more stylish than others. But I just walked by them.
However, when I discovered this, I had to check it out!
I quickly found myself in a little room full of costumes where the friendly owner put a very thick catalogue in my hands.
He has good prices and I will definitely include him in my shopping guide.

I made a little detour on Istiklal caddesi to buy a pair of grey shoes without any glitter (!!!!) that I had seen the day before. Another item crossed off my shopping list!

I brought my new shoes back to the hotel where Elisa was waiting for me and we took a taxi to the Grand Bazaar. Since this is a very old building, it counts as "cultural experience"! Especially as we also paid a quick visit to the mosque next door.

Actually I think one could easily skip the overcrowded Blue Mosque alltogether and visit some of the "smaller" mosques instead where there are no people and you can enjoy the experience in peace.

Meanwhile, at the Kapli Carsi...
I really had exceptional navigating skills that day! Found the Ali Baba shop right away and we spent quite a while there since they have a lot of the things we wanted.
First a visit to the top floor with the newly done costume department.

Our trusted friend Erkan, always helpful!
Then we switched to souvenirs, ceramics etc.
You can NEVER, EVER have enough little fabric bags! I even wrote abou it:
One fabric shop, another bellydance store and a small meal later we left the covered section of the bazar and walked down to Eminönü for the rhinestone shops.
Time flies incredibly fast when you are shopping!
We hardly had a moment to sit down and grab a bite because I had booked tickets for the Whirling Derwish show the Hodjapasha theater.

I can't resist a stylish bathroom...
Actually the theater is in a former hamam. It's a very nice setting.

No photography was allowed during the show which is really more a spiritual ceremony.
After all the noise and impressions of the bazar it had a calming, relaxing effect in its simplicity.
But as I am not a very spiritual person it didn't get to me on that level. Still it was an interesting experience.

Of course I wore my new shoes for tango that night!
It was a nice milonga, but a bit cold due to the constantly open door to the smoking area. I even had to dance in my cardigan!