We are not referring to the candy, but the shopping. Shopping in Turkey is mainly a wonderful experience.
We thought a kilim or Turkish carpet might be a wonderful souvenir of our time in Turkey. It turns out buying a carpet was overwhelming. The fact that it is difficult to find a reliable carpet salesman who also has the kilim with the right colours, within a reasonable budget. Although we wanted to purchase a rug, we deferred.
What was more fun was buying pestamel or Turkish towels. Unlike Turkish rugs, you can be sure you are buying Turkish towels made in Turkey and not China. With a little bit of research, you can find hand-woven artisan pestamel and have an enduring souvenir.
We were lucky to discover Jennifer’s Hamam in the Arasta Bazaar in Istanbul. Aarasta Bazaar is smaller than the Grand Bazaar and also less frantic. Jennifer is a transplanted Canadian, who had a passionate interest in weaving and hand crafted goods. She sourced weavers in Turkish villages still hand weaving the towels on looms.
Jennifer is working with weavers and encouraging them to refurnish their old looms and begin using them again with cotton, silk and linen. To see her work visit jennifershamam.com
Istanbul is so colourful. We didn’t take photos of actual Turkish delight being made, but we did see a lollipop maker creating a lollipop to order near the Blue Mosque.
We arrived late, checked into the hotel in Sultanahmet on Wednesday night. We were determined to get up to make the most of our few days in Istanbul. We are at the bottom of the hill but it isn’t long before we see evidence of the Blue Mosque, minarets shining brightly in the sun. In fact, in this historic centre of Istanbul, many famous sights are within easy walking distance.
We follow our gaze at the beautiful Blue Mosque and end up at the Greco-Roman Hippodrome, a race course for horses or chariots, but now is a park with several ancient structures including the Obelisk of emperor Theodosius, who in 390 brought one third of the obelisk from the temple of Karnak in Luxor, Egypt. Looting and re-purposing has been going on for a thousand years.
The Blue Mosque or Sultanahmet Mosque stands in quiet beauty facing the equally beautiful Hagia Sophia, once an Orthodox Cathedral from 537 to 1453, then an imperial mosque until 1931, when Ataturk converted it into a beautiful museum.
We took the tram over the Galata Bridge to the Galata Tower, visited Taksim Square and had coffee at the Dolmabace Palace. Galata Tower is a Genoese medieval stone tower standing over the Golden Horn’s junction with the Bosphorus.
What the tower gave us were 360 degree views of Istanbul. We finished our day shopping in Arasta Square and there is always the Grand Bazaar tomorrow. Try YouTube for the song, it’s very catchy and you too can have an earworm.
One of the immutable facts of sailing is that first the weather, then the boat has control over where you are going. Louise, Frosty and James and I were all set for a lovely night at My Marina in Ekincik but the boat decided to spit the dummy. It resolved itself, but since we had left so early, we decided the wiser course of action would be to go straight to Marmaris.
Marmaris is a beautiful harbour with mountains coming down to meet the sea in almost circular fashion. Marmaris is famous for its barbers and fire shaves, many restaurants and beautiful harbour, with four marinas in the vicinity. Mercier will winter here on the hard stand in the marina.
We woke up to a perfect sunny day on Netsel Marina and with great efforts from Frosty and Louise, James managed to wash the sails and get them dried and folded ready to be stored for the winter. Swanno will be happy to know that Louise gave the stainless another polish and James is having a cover made to keep the cock pit under cover.
In the evening, we wandered round Marmaris enjoying sculptures and fountains that dot the large Town Quay. The fountains are quite a vibrant area full of fisherman and children, who come in the cool of the evening to watch the spectacle.
The Octopus is on the Town Quay and at night looks quite mysterious, with it’s iconic eyes looking for prey.
We wandered about town finding a rooftop terrace, whiling away the time watching boats moving about the harbour, docking and people enjoying posing for photos on the town quay.
Frosty and Louise have left for Istanbul this morning. They are headed for the glamourous port of Istanbul. We wish them a safe flight home and hope they take good notes in Istanbul for us. We managed to have some fun last night with the local ice cream man. In Turkey, even selling ice cream is a chance to be a “showman”.
This will be the last blog until we are in Istanbul. It isn’t exciting to hear about cleaning and packing, but hopefully we will have things to report from Istanbul.