Apologies, the lawyer in me comes out at times, and needs to make certain that I mention (this trip) and not just ‘Our Final Istanbul Morning!’
Waking up around half past 6 (I wonder why I can never wake up this early in Dubai, but automatically wake up when on vacation!), we took the tram to Sultanahmet, wanting to see the Basilica Cistern before we left Istanbul.
We had a quick breakfast of eggs at a cafe right opposite the basilica on a side street, called Cafe Lokum.
Heading for the basilica we procured our entrance tickets and were astonished with what met our eyes! All we knew was that it was an aquaduct, but climbing down stairs, it was something so different- something we had never seen before. Beautifully lit, the boards we read explained that water for the Topkapi palace was stored here (How they transported it, I do not know, probably just lowered buckets from their basements into the cistern. It is a short distance away from the palace, not right next door). Wet and slippery, it is something you should not miss.
Folklore for you: One of the stories says that Medusa was one of the three underground Gorgona Giant’s sisters. Out of these three sisters only Medusa was mortal and she had the power of transforming people who looked at her into stones.
Medusa made love to Poseidon in the temple of Athena. Furious, Athena transformed Medusa into a monstrous beast with snakes instead of hair. She was beheaded while sleeping by the hero Perseus, who thereafter used her head as a weapon until giving it to the goddess Athena to place on her shield.
Having coupled with Poseidon previously, two beings sprang from her body when she was beheaded. One, Pegasus, was a winged horse later tamed by Bellerophon to help him kill the chimera. The other, Chrysaor of the Golden Sword, remains relatively unknown today. (Istanbul Trails).
Having finished off with the Basilica Cistern, we were suddenly extremely tired, but I wanted to go to the Grand Bazaar and pick up some Turkish delight and some souvenirs for friends.
Just as we were walking to take the tram- look what we came across… actually it’s all over Istanbul!
We spent close to an hour inside the Grand Bazaar. They quote really high rates but bargaining is the key. Picked up two tee shirts for kids, which they quoted at 25 TRY each! Got them for 6TRY. Am i good or what? (Of course at the airport I did shop for more tees and those were 12-15 euros a piece- from Mavis).
‘Where do we buy our turkish delight from?’ This question followed us for days. Finally we decided to just pick it up from wherever we felt like. Gulluoglu was situated right outside gate number 5, and we entered the store. I would not say that the guy was friendly- Id call him uptight! An old turkish man (i thought he probably owned the store). I would’ve walked out if it were not for Mr. R telling me ‘Let’s just buy it and get out of here’. What a smart decision. The lokum tasted divine and online research some days later, stated that this was one of the best stores to buy your ‘Turkish Delight’ from! And Yes.. I agree!.
Oh and the guy did get friendly when he realised we were here to buy and not to have fun! He was super excited on learning that we were from Dubai, and told us that he was coming to the Global Village the next Dubai Festival! I cant wait to meet him there and to taste the lovely chocolate covered turkish delight!
If you are headed to Istanbul, please do get me some from Gullouglu!
Why is it easier to wake up early on vacation days and not on normal days? Guess I’m always ready for fun and excitement.