The Grand Bazaar was a wonderful experience, just as I expected. I almost couldn't believe I was finally there! It turned out to be like a giant covered market, with some courtyards attached and also some stalls spilling out into nearby streets.
We arrived in the gold section, appropriately filled with goldsmiths and silversmiths, and after looking at the windows for a bit (there were some where the entirety of their windows were filled with glittering gold bangles), we made our way round the other sections. Leather, fabric, Turkish rugs and pillows, antiques, colourful lamps... It was so atmospheric. I bought a beautiful white and turquoise- patterned tablecloth/runner for 40 lira, haggled down from 150; then for Dave's birthday I bought him six skewers that he'd chosen, each one having a different shaped end (a duck and a pig were two). Then at a different stall/shop Dave looked at telescopes, but they were way too expensive to buy, even after haggling. One antiques shop had two massive globes which I was very taken by, but they looked extremely unwieldy and expensive, so I never even asked for the price.
At this point we sat down for some Turkish coffee, which came with a mini glass of water held within a beautiful silver holder and a small platter with two pieces of Turkish Delight.
Our last purchase from the interior was from another antiques shop; two absolutely gorgeous engraved cups, made from silver-plated bronze. The stall holder said they were made in Afghanistan.
After this we looked round lots of shoe and clothes stalls lining the streets on one side. I bought something I'd been hoping to find; a pair of loose cotton trousers. I bought them for 20 lira, down from 40 - he agreed so quickly I suspect I could have had them for even less, but no matter. It still worked out at about £5!
After the clothes stalls we came across a large courtyard containing the book and paper market! The books were nearly all in Turkish, but I spotted some notebooks made from parchment, so I simply had to get myself one...
We headed back to the hostel then to have a bit of a rest. On the way there we stopped for some corn-on-the-cob at one of the many street sellers who sell them. Each stall has a massive vat of boiled ones in water, and a grill with a pile of pre-grilled ones next to it. It also has a metal tray of cooked chestnuts.
After our rest we went to the Archaeological Museum.
This consists of the main museum (with one of the best collections of Ancient Greek and Roman statuary in the world, plus an interesting 'Istanbul Through The Ages' exhibition)...
...a tile pavilion...
...a collection of Ancient Greek and Roman sarcophagy...
...and the Ancient Orient Museum, containing fantastic artifacts from the Ancient Egyptians, Hittites, Sumerians and other pre-Islamic cultures.
Special mention to a clay tablet with the oldest love poem ever written carved into it. This is Sumerian and dates from between 2037 - 2029 BC.
For dinner that evening we returned to the café at Arasta Bazaar. Dave had a lamb kebab, I had a mixed one and we shared Turkish yoghurt with honey for dessert. Just outside the bazaar we stopped at a calligrapher's stall and Dave got him to write our names on a piece of white leather.