Spring Break: Turkey (Day 13 – Istanbul -> Barcelona)

Basilica Cistern

Basilica Cistern

With one half a day left in Istanbul we hoped to see Aya Sophia, but the line was far longer than we had time for. So, to make the most of our the hours we had left we went to see the Basilica Cistern. What caught our eye beyond the beautifully lit columns was the booth to the left where visitors were dressing up as sultans and his wives to take themed pictures. We were giddy with excitement to take on ourselves. We even get them to negotiate the price down (despite the fact that we were in a tourist area).

GP and his harem

GP and his harem

We got a lot of great pictures out of the experience that will be funny for years to come. After our impromptu photo shoot, we went on to see the rest of the Basilica, including the Medusa heads that once appeared atop the columns at the far end.

Medusa head sculpture

Medusa head sculpture

After the quick tour of the rest, we emerged into the daylight reinvigorated and ready to take a second stab at the Grand Bazaar. I braced myself as we entered again, determined to get the rest of the presents I wanted to bring home for family and not get bothered by the persistent calls from each side of me expecting me to buy buy buy! But oddly, it wasn’t so bad. Tuesdays’ aren’t a big day at the Bazaar I guess and all of the holiday travelers were back home and in class, like we should have been :x. I even got to enjoy the old portion of the Bazaar without feeling stressed to keep moving to avoid the sellers.

The old portion of the Grand Bazaar

The old portion of the Grand Bazaar

To end our trip as proper foodies, we went to a local bakery on the way back to the hotel and asked for one of… everything. This confused the lady behind the counter and forced SS to literally say “One of these, and one of these, and one of these, and one of these…” until she got the point. We were not leaving Turkey without sampling every good thing we could get into our mouths, this was certain. The normal diet and exercise would start tomorrow!

Turkish pastries

Turkish pastries

They were all very delicious we had them after lunch, one our way to the airport, at the airport…and probably some more after the flight landed several hours later. A sweet ending to a very sweet trip. Thank you Turkey for being so amazing! And to my friends for making it one of the best trips I have ever had.

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