During the day, Adam and I explored the sites of Istanbul and wandered through both its Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar. The smells and sights from particularly the Spice Bazaar were always strong and always changing. The spices organized neatly in bins or baskets lined the aisles and every seller stood directly in front waiting to try to pull anyone and everyone into their shop.
In the evening, we changed gears and crossed the river to Taksim Square where it was easy to find cheap beers, Tavla sets, and live music. In fact, right in the middle of the square was a live concert featuring a group playing traditional Turkish music with a heavy bass beat. The crowd around the stage was young, enthusiastic, and fun to watch. As we moved away from the square, the streets were flooded with people. Every alley was full of tables and chairs set up outside to take advantage of the nice weather, and restaurants remained open serving all types of food. We stopped at one restaurant to enjoy a savory filled pancake that we saw being artistically prepared in the window. Unfortunately, we became so involved in the scene in and around Taksim that we missed the last tram home. We could’ve taken a taxi, but there were two of us and the walk wasn’t long even after making a couple wrong turns. On the return trip, Adam and I walked under Galata Bridge, another area full of bars and restuarants. Istanbul, as I’ve mentioned before, is clearly a young and active city.