We recently went to a holiday to Istanbul where we had the time of our lives. The main reason why we chose Istanbul for our family holiday is because we wanted to take the kids to a place that had a lot of history and culture. Also, John wanted to study the architecture of Istanbul’s greatest masterpieces – the Ayasofya Müzesi or Hagia Sofia– because his current client wanted the design to his house to be inspired by it.
We stayed in Istanbul for two weeks. Since it was the first time in a long while that we were taking a vacation abroad as a family, we decided we would go all out. We booked a room in one of the best hotels in the city. The room we got had a fantastic view of the skyline of seven hills of the Old City.
We took the kids sightseeing during the day visiting the museums, grand palaces, and imperial mosques that Istanbul is famous for. With so many places to see, two weeks of sightseeing every day was not enough to get through everything on our list. However, it there was only one thing I wouldn’t let pass, it was the opportunity to shop in one of the best bazaars in the world – Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar.
The Grand Bazaar is popular for being the ones of the biggest shopping centers in the world. The place can be a town in itself because of the large area it covers. Just imagine how big it really is that is able 4000 shops. Okay, I didn’t exactly count the number of shops there but that’s what our guide told us.
Shopping isn’t the only thing you can do at the Grand Bazaar. There were also a great number of restaurants that served different kinds of cuisines that can satisfy even the pickiest of taste buds. In fact, one of my most favorite meals during our vacation was at a small restaurant at the bazaar.
I visited the Grand Bazaar about five times the whole time we were there. I had the kids with the first couple of times but when I told them I was going to go shopping for the third time around, they flat out refused to go because they claimed that it was too exhausting. I really can’t blame them. The place just made it too easy to forget about the time that you don’t even realize that you’ve already spent an entire day there.
Despite my sore feet and limbs, I was always remained in very high spirits when I got back to our hotel. So did I manage to buy? All sorts of things! I got an authentic Turkish hand woven rug that now lies handsomely in front of the fireplace in our living room, glazed tile and pottery pieces, some copper and brassware to add to my collection, and also an array of clothing and bags made from beautiful leather.
Needless to say, I spent a lot more than my allotted shopping budget but I have no regrets. After all, it’s not like we’ll be going back to Istanbul any time soon. If you plan on including Istanbul in your bucket list, make sure that you allot a couple of days of shopping at the Grand Bazaar. Trust me, a single visit is not enough to get your fill of what the place has to offer.