Istanbul - Bridges, bazaars and rooftops

 We had been lucky to experience warm and sunny days so far. Monday was no exception - in fact, when we went on our way to the Grand Bazaar it was already pretty hot!

It's always worth it to,get out of the metro on the bridge over the Golden Horn for a few minutes to enjoy the view.
Interesting angles


The writing on the metro car says something like "The nation of Turkey will not give in to terrorism". It's also on many posters I have seen.
A little culture stop at the Sehzade mosque.

Like the Blue Mosque it was built by Sinan but I prefer it because there are hardly any people and you can look at it in a calm atmosphere.



Crow on a gravestone
At the Grand Bazaar we found the Ali Baba shop in record time. We sat down and chatted with my old friend Erkan for a while before going shopping. He can always show me where the things are that I need.

First: Pestemal - Turkish hamam towels. I moved into a new apartment recently and needed towels in turquoise. Oli wanted some with a green pattern. And while we are at it, why not also get a bathrobe?
Pillow cases? We got you covered.
Lovely little fountain
We had in fact to go to several shops for our towels because they all have many colors but usually just a few of each.

All that shopping makes you hungry! But there are many restaurants in the bazaar to feed you.
Just as we were done eating, we were joined by Defne, a fellow dancer from Holland who lives here. We had teamwd up last November for an excursion and now she joined us for a little bazaar excursion.

Starting with this picturesque court, Zincirli Han.


We asked a man in one of the little shops if we could go up his top floor to look out of the window. As people here are generally friendly he let us.

It was quite a view over the bazaar's rooftops.

On to Cebeci Han. Let the daner's network play: Silvana from Zürich tells me to go visit her friend Aziz' shop. There on the sofa we meet Bettina, a good friend of Silvana who moved to Istanbul two years ago. She asked Defne if she knew about belly dance classes - well Defne teaches some herself in the Moda area on the Asian side. And that's where Bettina lives! Small world...
Since it was a day for chatting, that's what we did for a while.
Outside the shop
Bettina also showed us the way to Büyük Valide Han, a very big former trading station that still houses lots of little workshops.
There's a little old man who collects a lora per person to let you up the roof.

It's another #IstanbulByInstagram experience and it's awesome!
You can walk all over the roofs.
And this is the absolutely mandatory jump picture one must take up here!
There on the front edge is the spot where everybody takes their jump pictures to post on Instagram.

There's in fact a long line to pose on the big corner roof - so we simply took the one besides.
Defne prefers posing over jumping.
Jump for joy in Istanbul!

Cheesy pose
There's an old shack up there that apparently used to be a weaver's workplace.
Bumpy roof
He who always goes to all the places.
Posing in the late afternoon sun.
From there we walked down through the Spice Bazaar and over Galata Bridge.
Variations on the sunset theme!
We got back up to the hotel terrace just in time! As you can see, the lights were on in the footballl stadium.
We could hear the fans sing down on the street on their way to the stadium. At a certain point they stopped the traffic to cross the big street.
Defne left us shortly afterwards to go back home and we returned to our hotel room. There we piled up all those new towels to see how we would fit them into our luggage. Olivier took most of my purchases since he will be going home on Wednesday and I might buy some more...

Later in the evening we had a quick dinner and then headed for the milonga at the Armada hotel.
Seems like no trip to Istanbul is complete without a shady taxi driver trying to scam you. We found such an individual that night. The usual: not starting the taxameter, then quoting a fantasy price, etc. he even cheated Oli with the change. 
But I still have to say that most of them are honest.