We woke up at 5:00 am today and since we are still mostly on California time, to us it was more like 7:00 pm on our internal clocks. We couldn’t sleep so we got up and started wandering the neighborhood. And what a neighborhood it is……,
First up was the hippodrome where they used to race horses and chariots. We also walked the hippodrome in Rome a couple years ago, but this version has been turned into a large and busy plaza, where the one in Rome, is dirt and undeveloped. It was much easier to picture the Rome version, but they were very similar in purpose in ancient times. Here is a view from one end looking toward the blue mosque and the palace. Here is a picture of Terry and I at one end looking looking down the length of the plaza:
After wandering around until everyone else woke up, we accomplished one of our planned missions while here in Istanbul. Terry read up on shopping here and the number one shopping attraction for not just her but everyone, is a place here started by a nice Canadian woman, named Jennifer Gaudet. She started a business to support the ancient and dying craft of hand weaving. Her business is called Jennifers Hamam, which means Jennifers Bath in Turkish. The store fronts for these wonderful products are at a couple locations: NO: 135 & NO: 125, Arasta Bazaar, Sultanahmet, Istanbul. Please check the end of this blog for complete information about contacting Jennifer before you travel to Istanbul.
This was a really cool shopping experience, where we had great individual attention from multiple sales people including a wonderful introduction and conversation with Jennifer herself. And the products were so unique and awesome. They had cotton, linen and silk towels, sheets, bathrobes and blankets, along with everything that could accompany your bath or bedtime. These products are pretty unique and awesome, and you can really feel the quality right away. The weavers are from a specific area of Turkey and they weave the products on hand made looms in an old traditional style. All materials used are organic, and the life of her products is multiples of time more than anything you could buy anywhere else. If you are interested, click the link above and check out her website. These are not just towels, but works of art that will last the rest of our lives. Here is a picture of Terry in her shopping bliss:
Notice in the background, all the colors and patterns. This was great fun picking out the things we are going to ship home. We got two sets of towels, a custom tailored bathrobe for me, and even a beautiful linen blanket for our bed. Washcloths, hand towels, and even a silk scarf all went into our purchase. Terry was in heaven…., can’t wait to see how happy she will be when she opens her package up at home full of her treasures.
We also had another notable Turkish experience as well. We have noticed some of the restaurants that serve traditional Turkish food have these clay pots, and we wondered what they did with them. They are a used for cooking a type of Turkish stew with peppers, onions, and your choice of meat. We ordered up a couple of these for our dinner, one chicken and one steak. The presentation was pretty cool, and involved open flames and personal table side service that was a show as well. Here is a picture of him breaking the clay pot after it has cooked the stew and pouring the contents onto our plates:
As far as we could tell he didn’t burn himself, but the show and presentation were fun to watch.
I have to run for now, we have another full day tomorrow. I have much more I would like to write about but it will have to wait until I get some sleep.
Lastly, here is the complete contact information for Jennifer’s Hamam. Don’t miss this wonderful experience. We are not heavy shoppers but this was so worth our time, and even if you don’t purchase, you will enjoy the experience.