Just Don’t Lose Sight of the Minaret, Istanbul, Turkey

Guest Post by: Bridget Staroscik O’Reilly

Continuation of The Best Way To Leave a Turkish Bath is in a Taxi Unless..

A consensus somewhat reached, we started to walk towards the minarets and the girls followed in a loose group. A few blocks down and we had to turn a corner to make our way towards the minarets. Unfortunately with this turn, the minarets disappeared. They were no longer tall enough to be seen above the buildings. Given what we had been informed of on the ship we realized we must be in Istanbul's Grand Bazaar. The Bazaar itself was closed on Sundays and so where we walked was pretty deserted.

Sunset and Minarets over Istanbul, TurkeyI remembered something else that the guide had said in the port briefing; While the Grand Bazaar itself was closed, something like a flea market grew up in its place. However even though woman visited the Grand Bazarr, they did not go out on Sunday, at least not to the flea market anyway.  I suddenly remembered this as our group marched quickly up one street and came to a dead stop. There in front of us we saw a mass of humanity. Male humanity. There were Turkish men of all ages from toddlers to the aged. There were so many that they were practically standing shoulder to shoulder with no hint of light between them. Nicole who had been my co-leader in this adventure and I turned as if one person in that instant and went into crises mode. The street we had turned down was also filled with men and I knew we had to get through this mass of humanity.

Grand Bazar Shops, Istanbul, TurkeyWe were all young girls dressed in a more westernized way, which is a polite way of saying that we stuck out like a bunch of Brittney Spears fans at a Ramona’s concert.

The first thing that we did was line up single file. I left Nicole in the front and I made my way to the back of the line. We held onto each other and avoided any attempt to separate us. Once or twice the line cut into two lines but we worked to get it back together I found myself counting off to make sure that we had the same number we started with. I don’t know how long that took, although I’m guessing not as long as it seemed. Then Nicole made a turn and suddenly we were out of the flea market and on a main road. On a main road that led to the bridge and on the other side of the bride sat out cruise ship. We spared a moment to high five each other and then heard the whistle.

We thought to ourselves, was that the final whistle or the 30 minute warning? Not willing to take chances, we ran across that bridge as fast as we could. We raced up that gangplank and collapsed on the seating in the lobby area and breathed a deep sigh of relief. At that point I figured it was okay to tell them the truth; that I hadn’t really known where I was going once I lost sight of the mosque. They didn’t believe me then. Which was probably for the best anyway?

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Guest Post by: Bridget Staroscik O’Reilly @ Kickmeimdown


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