With our thermals on we have enjoyed the day so much more today. The wind was blowing and the sky was overcast but nothing we couldn't handle. We haven't done much exercise over the last week so decided to go on a stroll around the city. We headed off north and wandered through the backstreets, the smells and sounds of the city a delight to the senses. At certain times of the day they blast their prayers from speakers on the mosques, which rings out from all over the city. It reminds us of the movies we watch back home set in the middle east. Hope that's not a narrow point of view.
We headed towards the Golden Horn river and came across a lot of shops. After a bit of a search we found our much needed memory card. No limit on photos now! Then over the Galata Bridge where hundreds of fisherman stand shoulder to shoulder after their catch. Surprisingly the majority of them where pulling up fish. We noticed the water was full of jellies too. Not a place to swim.
Continuing our walk we made our way to Dolmabahce Palace. A place where the sultans used to live before Turkey became a republic. We were taken on guided tours through the palace and harem seeing grand ballrooms, bearskin rugs and opulence from a bygone era. It's amazing to see how the wealthy from another time lived, although we couldn't imagine living in these humungous places with rooms that are bigger than most houses.
We spent quite a few hours at the palace before jumping on a tram back towards home. We alighted at the waters edge and made our way to the spice market. The place was a hive of activity, people jammed everywhere. Its not just fresh spices on display. There are all sorts of food and wares being peddled but no one is pushy, well except the people behind us. We spent an hour or so bouncing around the crowd then headed towards the hotel.
We grabbed a feed, which is always such a variety as long as you have a kebab, then back home. We have been loving Istanbul. It has a real beauty to it and the people are a big part of that. They are friendly and not really pushy, generally taking "no" for an answer. We are a little wary but that comes from being away from western civilization yet. The city has a great vibe to it and we feel very comfortable here. It is easy to see why people love living here.