A trip to Istanbul is not complete without a visit to the Spice Bazaar and the Grand Bazaar. Or, if you’re like me, 4 trips to each. And I still felt like I didn’t spend as much time as I wanted to in each, but there comes a point when you’re completely shopped out. That point arrived on the very last day of our trip. My wallet and my husband were over it. Dano, Darryl and I hit up the Grand Bazaar the first day of our trip and paid a visit to one of my favorite vendors who is known for carpets, kilims, and suzani. If you’ve never had the rug experience, I highly recommend putting it at the top of your “must experience” list. You sit down and drink chai, apple tea, or turkish coffee while rugs are presented to you. The history of each is told to you and your blood is flowing with caffeine which adds to the excitement. This makes you want to drop some cash, like Darryl and I did on the first day of our trip. Totally unexpected but soooo worth it, and not an inch of guilt as we bought it from our favorite magic carpet man. The Spice Bazaar is filled with enough spices and Turkish delight in every flavor imaginable to make you want to become the most exotic and experienced cook ever. The presentation, the colors, the smells, the textures — it’s pure heaven.
This is near the entrance to the shop of our favorite carpet dealer. You can’t see the actual entrance, but you walk down a narrow staircase into a basement-like space and that’s where the magic happens.
This was meant to be mine. Funny thing is, I saw this on the first day of the trip but we ended up buying a large rug instead. I really wanted this but I didn’t want to pay the asking price, which of course always ends up being lower (and a lot lower depending on how great your bargaining skills are). But after the big rug purchase, I just couldn’t do it. The second time I went back to the shop I took my friends who ended up buying two rugs. That brought the price of this little gem down, but I still couldn’t do it. The third time at the tail end of our trip I took another group of friends who bought four rugs, and that’s when I couldn’t say no to the insanely low price the dealers gave me. I’m now the proud owner of this beauty!
Our stop at Ucuzcular where we all bought lots and lots of spices and teas. Our amazing friend Alex who lives in Istanbul recommended Ucuzcular for our spices, oils, and potions.