Today was my first day traveling solo. I am starting my travels alone in Istanbul, and after today I am so happy I have visited this mystical city. I am staying at #bunk, a hostel in the Taksim area of a neighborhood called beyoglu. The hostel is very nice and in a central location to the rest of the city. After breakfast, I walked across the galata bridge to the grand bazaar. The bridge is scattered with hundreds of fishermen and has a beautiful view of the city. Upon making my way to the bazaar, I was intrigued by the variety of Turkish jewelry, carpets, lamps and hookahs. If you can get past the men coming from their shops to bargain with you, it makes for a very cool experience. I had no problem with this, as most seemed to think I was Turkish making the language difference easy to ignore their sales pitch. For those that did speak English to me, I took the calls of “hey shakira”, “you are my goddess” and “madam, are you single” all in good laughter. I picked up a pair of earrings after bargaining them down from 25tl to 10tl. I may be visiting the bazaar again before I leave.
I then wandered the area until I found the spice market. I could have stayed in there all day, the instant smell of the variety of spices was intoxicating. Filled with Turkish delight and every spice one could dream of, the spice market is not something to miss in Istanbul. After the spice market, I made my way across the bridge again in search of lunch. Utilizing my lonely planet city guide as reference, I took a seat outside of kiva han, a restaurant nestled in the shadow of the galata tower. I had some Turkish coffee and chicken kebab while partaking in some people watching and relaxation. I then wandered a bit more around beyoglu and found beauty in the graffiti that fills the streets of Istanbul.