Am v sleepy right now because der & me played late night mahjong the whole night last night and this morning, i was up bright and early and somehow, the time just passed me by… Argh! Give me back my sunday!! Am so not ready to head back to work yet.

There are just too many mosques in istanbul and there’s one at every other corner. Der wasnt keen to pop in so all we did was stand outside, look at the architecture and read about some of them from the signages and information boards available. Being sick, it didnt help that i was cranky and frustrated most of the time with a super short attention span so all i wanted was get to a place where i could sit & rest.

A typical sight of the spice bazaar below. This reminds me of the market that i went in vietnam, ho chih min. They sell loads of the different teas available here – jasmine tea, apple tea, cinnamon tea and flower tea, just to name a few and i actually saw the flower tea that i bought for my ex-colleagues here as well! They also have all other spices available, and even stuff like curry powder and all. The annoying bit is that once you stop and look, the vendors just go on non-stop and bug you to buy, so i suggest you ignore them or quickly walk away if you aint keen in getting anything. I had a hard time getting away, much to the fury of the shop keeper after i snapped a picture of the colorful offerings.

Check out the variety here.

Der was hungry and bought a kebab for $2.50YTL that comes with a yogurt drink. I took a bite and didnt like it but der managed at least half of it before deciding to throw it away. The yoghurt drink was sour and der couldnt get accustomed to the taste of it so into the bin it went too. The shop keeper was a really kind man because while he was preparing our food, this old man came along and asked if he could buy the plain bread with the few cents that he had in his hands and the shop keeper actually gave him the bread for free. What a kind soul.

The entrance cum signage of the spice bazaar.

Flocks of pigeons.. You could actually make a living selling grains to feed the pigeons in europe and turkey! Doubt it’ll ever happen in south east asia and definitely a crime in singapore for illegal peddling & feeding of the pigeons.

Mosque beside the spice bazaar, i forgot its name.

View from far away.. The thing that i realised about the mosques are.. They look grander and more majestic from a distance where you could see more. In near distance, it almost looked like some grey blocky building because most of the details are on the building top.

2 other mosques seen from the piazza in front of the spice bazaar.. The one in the far distance is this mosque called suleymaniye, the second largest mosque in istanbul. Supposedly one of the mosques that we initially wanted to visit because the ceilings of the ceilings of the mosques are some intricate designs from a long time ago but since der wasnt interested in stepping into the mosques, we dropped the idea of visiting it and just looked from afar.

Fishes from the fish stall, on this stretch just outside the spice bazaar. This is a lone stall, but there’s this place near the sea that we passed by from the airport that has a whole long stretch of fish mongers peddling their fishes and wrapped in brown paper when you buy them. The place is filled with loads of sea gulls circling the skies and it was a real pretty sight and rich in sounds of seaside but i was in the car and didnt stop. Only saw this much cos we were sorta in a jam. The funny thing was this guy in the taxi in front of us actually ran out, buy some fishes and ran back before the traffic cleared. Hilarious!

All sorts of olives and they come in many different flavours! Was so tempted to buy some and try but didnt cos der dont like olives at all.

This is grand bazaar, architecture looking similar to that of the spice bazaar but way bigger with intricate web of shops down rows and rows of aisles. It’s like a maze and the stuff found here are clothes, fake branded bags of all kinds, trinkets and ornaments, watches, and jewellery. The thing about this place is that you need to compare the prices before you decide to buy anything. Nothing caught my fancy so we walked out empty handed. Do be prepared to have your bag checked at the entrance though. They have policemen at all the entrances and i think they were checking to see if you bring a bomb in as they were all armed with metal detectors.

This is the blue mosque, the biggest in istanbul. Surrounding it, there’s a whole stretch of smaller mosques, the topkapi palace and museums but we just strolled by them to soak in the grandeur.

Throughout our journey of walking around, i was madly blowing my nose and i realised that a dustbin is not EASY to find at all and i was holding on to this bunch of mucus-filled tissues for the longest time and feeling really really cranky. Even der tried to look for a dustbin for me and gave up after a while and exclaimed! How do these people throw their rubbish?!

One of the museums surrounding the blue mosque stretch.

This is the biggest shopping mall in istanbul – cevahir mall, located in the sisli district in istanbul. Actually, make it the largest shopping mall in europe and sixth largest in the world. I’m just not sure of its really the 6th biggest in the world because our ion easily wins it hands down but it just feels big (maybe the land surface area is huge and the shopping aisles are wider. Ion definitely has a lot more merchants within a mall than this. Its about $20LT cab ride from the sultanhamet area.

They do not have the big brands here, so the nore popular brands or the bigger brands are stuff like nine west, steve maden, massimono dutti, and surprise surprise, our own home-grown charles and keith!

Looking exactly like our usual stores in singapore but their shoe offerings are different from ours because their designs are newer. So the newer designs get sold in europe first before it hits our stores. I just had to take a picture for der when i saw the shop. Haha.

Him looking all stiff! Lol.

Food wise, they have kfc, nandos, and the famous krispy kreme!

Our donuts. Unfortunately, this is not one of those shops where the donuts were made freshly on the spot and i was a wee bit disappointed to find out because i know it wont taste as good. It was just a regular counter selling but we tried it nonetheless. We had the original glazed, the chocolate glazed, the raspberry powdered and the strawberry powdered and 2 large lemonades to wash it down. Their large drink is actually quite small. The verdict?! I think its much nicer than the ones in hk but no where near the ones that i have eaten freshly in the US.

And because im quite the nandos fan (even before it hit singapore), i just had to eat it for dinner (though we were quite full from the donuts) before heading back to the hotel.

My bottomless iced tea and der’s beer.

My portion, extra extra hot 1/4 chicken with grilled veges. They actually had our chicken and our sides mixed up and we had to swap it back.

Der’s hot 1/4 chicken with fries.

Our corns. Their corn servings are huge! Food wise, they taste as good (as compared to msia and aussie) and service was perfect as well though the restaurant was not busy at all.

The thing is, i think there are just way too many hotels in the sultanhamet area that each time we take a taxi, they have no idea the exact location of our hotel and in frustration, we alighted at the main streets and walked back to our hotel.. And yes, after only 1.5 days, we could easily find our way/direction back without the map.

The shop above – hafiz mustafa, is a shop that sells the turkish delights. You could easily find the boxed turkish delights in the bazaars where they were are pre-packed but this shop makes them daily. And you could buy any one flavour instead of the standard packaging. I bought a 1kg box with assorted flavours (there are more than 50 different flavours/varieties) so there’s no way you could buy everything and the more expensive ones could go up to 50YTL/kg! Anyway, my box costed me 37YTL that has most varieties but not all flavours. Not cheap at all! But i reckon its a good gift to bring back cos its interesting to eat and it can last up to 3 months!

Lastly, i just had to laugh at this cigarettes’ packaging, especially the fact that this was in istanbul where things are supposedly a little more conservative.

I felt like my legs were being stoned by people when i once wore a short skirt downstairs because we just wanted to buy water from the shop just round the corner of our hotel..

And yup, that’s it for my istanbul adventure because while we planned to visit the dolmanbache palace and maybe take a evening cruise, we were so sick (der had fever, sore throat and cough) that we simply stayed in bed. I only managed a short trip out to burger king for our brunch and refused to step out after cos i was shivering in cold. Der still made it out to macs to buy his own dinner while i had cup noodles for dinner.. And it was quite a good break considering that i was feeling way miserable but very loved cos der didnt let me do any chore and helped me with it though he was also sick. Thankfully, we were already on our last leg of the journey and couldnt wait to get back because we couldnt quite agree with the food!

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