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The next day of our trip and the lovely weather deserted us in favour of thunderstorms and hair-destroying humidity. Seemed as good a day as any to go shopping!

The Grand Bazaar is a covered market, with over 5000 stalls. Last year, it was actually the most visited tourist attraction in the world. So, obviously a bit of a tourist trap but I was still excited as shopping abroad is basically my favourite thing. I love being able to say “oh this, yeah, just a little something I picked up in Istanbul…(BECAUSE I AM WELL CULCHURED THANK YOU FOR NOTICING!)” 😉

I wore my sister’s big bow hairclip from the 80s that I recently found. I love that from certain angles from the front I look like I’m wearing little cat ears. My cat ear sunglasses from River Island were therefore also necessary, despite the lack of sun.

The peacock earrings were a gift, the mini-pearl necklace (that I also have the big Zara version of) is from Next, and the chilli pepper pendant was a freebie from a shop in Siena.

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I also wore: H&M cardi, and my M&S pink trench.

I had to pose in front of the below shop as I have recently started watching the Dawson’s Creek box-set, having completely missed it when I was actually the target audience for it, and am obsessed. It makes me so happy, it’s ridiculous!

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Diverse sizes of mannequins = good

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Terrifying child mannequins with goatees = not quite as good

The Grand Bazaar was constructed over 500 years ago. It was leaking in several places, and looking a little worse for wear all over. All of which only added to its charm.

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Sooo, I promised my boyfriend that if I saw something I liked I would either buy it or forget about it, and I absolutely would not make him wander around for hours trying to navigate back to the first stall we saw to get something I had already decided against. And then I decided, after a million further twists and turns through the seemingly senseless labyrinth that is the Grand Bazaar, that I wanted the front lamp in the above picture at one of the first stalls we had passed and we spent about an hour trying to retrace our steps (the millions of photos I had taken actually really helped with this!) so that I could um and ahh for a further half hour about whether or not it would fit into my suitcase.

I bought it, and it did, just FYI 🙂

I have to say though, that for all the sheer overwhelming size and quantity of the place and the things there, I was actually pretty underwhelmed by what was available. Usually, if you set me loose in a market like this, I spend all my money and leave with my body weight in tat. However, there was just so much choice, and so many stalls selling similar things that it became impossible for me to actually choose anything.

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I love the high-security closing up system…

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I was obsessed with all the lamps. I would have bought so many if I hadn’t had to get them back home somehow! (Although, a couple of the vendors told me that they can courier abroad.)

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There is an antiques section in the middle which was gorgeous, and I wanted everything. However, being antiques, they were unfortunately not your standard market prices. I enquired after a bracelet that turned out to cost US$6,000. *sigh* I would have taken more pictures but they kept shooing me away and telling me off!

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There was one passageway near here that we turned to go down only to find that it was completely blocked by dozens of men praying, in response to the call to prayer. (Which rang out several times a day and was so stunning every time.) It was really interesting to see, as I had been wondering about how the system worked – if people tended to congregate to pray or just stop where they are etc. Never having lived in or visited a predominantly Muslim country, I had only ever seen people praying individually before.

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In the end I left with only my lovely lamp, which cost about 380 Turkish Lira (approx. £90), and these 3 bracelets, which came to about £22 altogether. But, while I didn’t buy much, it was fascinating and definitely a place worth visiting!

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(N.B. Everyone tells you you’re supposed to haggle so, even though I hate haggling with a passion, I did. They did lower the prices a bit but not so much that it made a real difference… Maybe that’s just because I’m so rubbish at it though!)

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Lunch. 40% of what I ate in Istanbul was bread and cheese, 50% was lamb and rice, and the last 10% was ice cream. As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t get any better than that! 😀

Unfortunately the above meal was too large for the plate it was on, causing the waiter to drop a piece of the cheesy bread right in my crotch. He was so flustered, I felt really bad for him!

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I’m not sure the shop names below would go down as well in England…

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After we had exhausted the Grand Bazaar (and my boyfriend), we wandered through the Spice Market, which is right next door. However, again we were a bit underwhelmed, and didn’t buy anything. It was obvious that it was heavily geared towards tourists, not locals, and my bf (who has clearly not understood the point of travelling!) said that there was nothing you couldn’t buy at the Turkish Food Centre in Stoke Newington anyway.

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Not entirely convinced that “Hakuna Matata” is an authentic Turkish spice…

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Designer dummies!

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Um…..but…it’s a bunny?

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My bf bought some horizontal kebabs (cag) from Sehzade Cag on the way back to the hotel. He tried to buy 4 skewers but ended up with 4 entire dishes, complete with bread and salad. In the unlikely event that he starts a rap career, he shall be known as “4 Kebabs”.

2 Chains will be so jealous.

While he was amassing enough food (which was delicious by the way) to feed a small army, I was buying enough scarves to keep them warm while they digest.

I bought several of each of the colours below (they were only about £4 each!) to give out to my friends and family (and myself) as souvenirs.

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We went for a swim at the hotel, purely because I had brought FOUR bathing suits with me (packing light? What’s packing light?) and had to wear at least one to prove that it was worth me bringing them…

Then we got changed and headed out for some more authentic Turkish cuisine – SHAKE SHACK!

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I wore my leopard print jacket (last worn on my bday), black Dorothy Perkins top, my new bracelets and earrings that I bought last summer in Monastiraki.

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We took the tram (very efficient, pretty clean) from Gulhane to Tophane and then walked up the steepest, longest hill ever to get to the main shopping street in Beyoglu. I would have liked to have had a couple more days in Istanbul to explore the more modern areas like this as well.

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The street was decorated with Christmas lights, even though it was the end of March! Not sure if this is a year round look or what…

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Shake Shack was fabulous as ever (although not as good as the one in London, which in turn is not as good as the one in New York).

I loved these random feathers, not sure if there were a sign for something or just art, but they certainly livened up the never-ending hill of doom as we retraced our steps back down!

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Thanks for reading!

Love,

The Styletterie

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