You know that moment when you’re watching “Skyfall” and James Bond is driving a motorcycle on top of the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul and you’re like, “Oh my goodness… I’m going to live there!” No? Oh. Well, that was me just over a year ago on a Daddy-Daughter date night. Since moving to Istanbul, I’ve been to the Grand Bazaar many times. I always take my friends when they visit because there is always somewhere new to discover if you can handle the crowds.
I finally decided to go on a tour led by an expat woman who has lived in Istanbul for 20+ years, works in photography, and has developed great relationships with many of the men who own shops in the Grand Bazaar. The highlight, of course, was being led to the roof where we sat for a long time enjoying the view and the sounds of Istanbul; the boats, the seagulls, the car horns, the men selling simit and antiques, and most importantly, the call to prayer from the minarets of many surrounding mosques.
Following our excursion through the Grand Bazaar, we took a quick stroll to a nearby mosque and through the street market that winds between the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Market.
I know there is a way to get to the roof without a tour and everything we saw I probably could have discovered on my own, but sometimes it is nice to be led by someone who knows their way and knows the people. Additionally, it was great to hear her stories and meet new faces. As a photographer, she also had a very artistic approach to her tour, pointing out the lighting and other things my untrained eye may have missed.
Sitting on the roof for a long time allowed me to soak in the chaotic glory that is my new home city. From the exposed brick, to the domes, to the men sunbathing on their terraces… There is no other city in the world like Istanbul.
Here are some pictures I snapped that day: