Sunday, April 28, 2013

The fabulous Spice Bazaar

Having regained our land legs, we set of for the Spice Bazaar that we knew was somewhere nearby. We walked along very crowded streets that became narrower and narrower eventually closing out the sunlight. Most of the endless stalls, at this point, were selling household goods and hardware. We soldiered on and finally we were in the Spice Bazaar, built with money paid as duty on Egyptian imports. From medieval times spices were a vital and expensive part of cooking and became the market's main produce. Since Istanbul was on the trade route between Europe and the Orient, the bazaar came to specialize in spices from the Orient.

The stalls were piled high with all kinds of spices, teas of all kinds, honey, nuts, dried fruit and lovely coloured sweet eats of every vibrant colour imaginable. We bought some Persian saffron and a loofah. It was lovely walking through the bazaar, which was teeming with tourists and locals.

Later we had another delicious dinner. I have become a real fan of Turkish food. I had grilled chicken in a yogurt sauce on a bed of shoestring potatoes served with grilled tomatoes. Seamus had lamb cooked with mushrooms, peppers, almonds and sultanas in a phyllo pastry. All this was served with a delicious Turkish red wine. Lovely.

We decided to forego the tram experience and walk back to the hotel passing through another small bazaar. This time we ended up, somewhat to our surprise, in a big hookah restaurant or coffee bar. Everyone was smoking a hookah. You would think that it would smell awful but it was actually quite pleasant since everything had a mild apple smell to it and the area wasn't too smoky. We continued on our way and after a few more turns found our way back to the hotel.

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