We only has a short time in Bursa, the cradle of the Ottoman Empire. One of the cities chief products is silk (in addition to ceramics and fighter jets). We hit the 15th century silk bazaar and got to work. I'd like to tell you that we sat in a small shop in the oldest part of the bazaar, the Han, sipping tea with a old Turkish man wearing a well worn Fez.
Alas, this was not the case. The shop we settled on was fairly modern looking, and our contact was a young woman in Bell Bottoms. (Oh, and the Fez has been illegal in Turkey since 1924). Still she was a good bargainer and we walked away with over 50 silk scarves and wool pashminas. We left the bazaar which exits near the 13th century Grand Mosque just as the afternoon call to prayer began.
"I like the way we get to shop" I said to my wife, smiling.
We did the tourist thing today, visiting Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. Both are beautiful buildings. I learned a few new things, but the crowds were a real distraction. We ate at the legendary Pudding Shop where the owner notices me taking picturess of some of the old photos and letters on the wall.
"Where you from?" the older man at ther register asked.
"Why you..?" he made the picture taking motion.
"This the the famouse Pudding Shop. I read about it in a book. Magic Bus. All the hippies started out for India and Nepal from here. I've only seen Turkey this trip, but I wanted to eat here in their memory."
He smiled knowingly and reached behind the counter. He handed me some postcards with the Pudding Shop on the front along with the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. There were also two stickers touting the 'World Famous' restaurant. He shook my hand warmly. "Good travels". I left very geeked.
We took a cruise on the Bosporus to see some of the many Sultans palaces and other buildings that line this historic seaway.
Later, we crawled through Istanbul trafic to our hotel. The last time we did this we flew across in record time, then we remembered it was May Day, the day of the riots.
Tomorrow is the Topkapi palace and the one BIG chance to buy everything we've been holding back on. And we have to do in in a narrow window of time or we'll get trapped in the same traffic we did today. Right now we're sitting in our room roasting. No AC and no breeze outside the window. We're testing the capacity of our luggage to see how best to pack. Already some clothes have been jettisoned, more will go tomorrow.