Travel Notes – Istanbul Day 05

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

Well, the snow kept its promise and made an appearance today. Soft fluffy flakes falling from the sky making the street wet with it freezing icy droplets.

We didn’t make any big plans today but I did want to see the Fatih Market which happens every Wednesday. But due to the cold weather, I decided it would be best to see or do something indoors so we took the tram to Sultanahmet and went to the Arasta Bazaar just behind the Blue Mosque. It was quiet when we arrived around 10.30 and we had snowflakes fall on our cheeks and faces as we peeked into the various shop windows lined on each side of this cobbled street bazaar. I noticed that not only were the vendors less agressive here but they were also less friendly. I saw a pair of cute traditional leather baby shoes which would have been perfect for my soon-to-be-born niece but when I tried to ask for a reduced price, the shop owner looked at me as if I was wearing a Yoda costume and shrugged his shoulder before closing his shop door in my face. Oh well, he was probably having a bad day!

From here we went to the Mosaic Museum which was located on one side of the bazaar. I have to say I was not too impressed with what I saw here and after 15 minutes, we were done and headed back out. At this time, we heard the lovely adzan for Zuhur from the Blue Mosque so we hurried inside and performed our Zuhur prayer before carrying on with our day.

We then walked to the Turkish & Islamic Arts Museum located just in front of the Blue Mosque. We bought a small bag of roasted chestnuts and nibbled on them as we let the cold wind and snowflakes caress our faces. We saw an impressive collection of items dating back from the days of the 4 caliphs all the way to the Ottoman Empire in the early 1900s. Old scripts and documents as well as ancient pieces of the Holy Quran were laid out for our eyes to see. The museum was empty when we were there and there were only about 6-7 people including us 3. As we were about to leave, we saw from the window that the snowfall had become thicker so we sat down and waited for it to die down slightly.

By the time we were able to leave, the kids were getting really cold so we took the tram back to Sirkeci from Sultanahmet and as we walked back to our hotel from the station, we stopped at a small kebab stall to grab a late lunch. I paid 88 TL for 3 kebabs, (large & medium for the kids and a small one for me) and 2 big glasses of pomegranate juice.

We sat on the third floor of this humble stall and from there watched the snow fall on the charming Sirkeci neighbourhood. It was like watching a scene in a snowglobe, so whimsical!

At around 4 we walked back to our hotel and will stay in for the rest of the evening. I can still hear the trams whizzing by outside and we’re all huddled underneath our blankets, shivering from time to time from the cold weather. A simple and perhaps annoying thing for most people living in 4-season countries but a true luxury for us who live in a place where the sun shines so hot and brightly every day. Something we will soon leave behind and truly miss in a few days’ time.

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