Those feeling ill should consider eating 100g of double pistachio Turkish Delight, five pimento stuffed green olives, a cup of apple tea, and a single white peppercorn from the Spice Bazaar in Istanbul. Even if it does you less good than it seems to have done me, the search for these items will lead you into and through one of the most interesting parts of the city. Perhaps because it actually sells useful things, in contrast to the touristy trinkets of the Grand Bazaar, the place has a much healthier and more enjoyable air. I now have over a kilo of various vacuum sealed fresh spices to share with friends in England.
This morning consisted of a second long foray into the Grand Bazaar. Never a real fan of shopping, it became pretty grating quite soon. That said, it is just the place for those souls who really delight in the art of haggling. During the afternoon, we saw the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts (which had two guards and one staff member for every guest). Unfortunately, I wasn’t entirely in a state to appreciate it, though some of the calligraphy included was undenialy very fine. All day, I have felt like a spiky ball has been inside my head: when I move forward, it hits the back of my head painfully. Likewise if I turn or move around. When I cough, as I have been doing often, the spiky ball doubles in size and pierces the inside of my skull from all directions. Massive doses of vitamin C, purchased from a local pharmacy this morning, have not been an effective counter thus far. Part of the problem is that it so cold in the rooms of the Sultan Hostel that my father and I were waking one another up every few minutes, as we fought over shared blankets all night while wrapped in warm clothes and woolen hats. Perhaps this is a concealed blessing, serving to make the return to Oxford seem more welcome.
This evening’s Spice Bazaar visit, along with tea, backgammon, and lentil soup in the simple restaurant where we have been finding ourselves once a day, made for a good end to our last day in Turkey. It is unlikely that I will have the chance to return any time soon, but I definitely recommend it to curious and adventurous travellers.
PS. My standard internet cafe has been without access for three days and the staff seem utterly unhurried about repairing anything. At the best of times, their total revenue is less than four Canadian dollars an hour. The fact that they seem to be open all the time is at least odd and at most suspicious. The upshot of all of this is that I only get a fifteen minute burst of hostel internet time, which has now very nearly expired.
I will write more and post additional pictures from Oxford tomorrow night.