As the sun rises and illuminates the Bosphorus Sea, the city comes to life in the extreme early hours of the day. Eager tourists are already wandering around, cameras slung over their shoulders and tell-tale tourist signs written all over them. Appealing prey for the salesmen selling everything from portable handheld sewing machines to delicious freshly pressed juice to even spirograph designs.
The sky sparkles a brilliant hue of blue as the Sultan Ahmet Mosque (more commonly known as the Blue Mosque) looms out from a distance, its soaring minarets and enormous domes visible for miles around. The trams speed along the main streets at regular intervals, its mostly quiet and smooth operation punctuated by the blaring announcements at each station. Whilst they appear normal in Istanbul, tourists must be wary of their ability to sneak quietly along the road where they may catch people unaware.
The Grand Bazaar is truly grand and not a disappointing exaggeration for the entrance leads you into a maze of stalls and alleyways containing items of all types. From antiques to leather to beautiful art work, it is a place which requires immense patience, local knowledge or at the very least, the ability to drive a hard bargain. The spice shops entice you with their tantalising aroma but the word of the person selling the famous Turkish delight cannot be trusted. Promises of ‘cheapest price in the market’ turn out to be false when you visit the shop a few units down. It is a busy, thriving and lively place which can easily lead to an uncontrollable spending spree if you are not careful.
Tourists unwilling to work out the logistics of travelling on the tram must be prepared for a lot of walking. Incredibly steep hills which feel so nice to walk down, yet become an assault course towards the end of the day when weary legs attempt to make their way back to their hotel.