Haggling and Whirling in Turkey

This will be quick, I promise, because I’m tired. Today we started with breakfast at the restaurant in our hotel. Same spread as yesterday but I tweaked my choices a little. It’s shown below, just for fun.

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Then we hit the Grand Bazaar for the morning and got lost in the 4,000 stalls. My favorite parts were stopping to look at the actual building and talking to some of the vendors. Like the guy I bought my calligraphy drawing from who called for tea, shared his story with us, and talked to us like we were friends and not customers. We were asked if we were from America more times than I can count, but it was worth it to see the rows and rows of ceramics, scarfs, leather bags, etc. we spent a few hours there, which felt shorter and surprised us both.

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After lunch and dropping off our bags of purchases, we toured the Topkapi Palace which I will discuss more tomorrow in my history post (get excited)! And then we had a pit-stop to warm up and get tea, where I snapped a quick photo of myself to prove I am still alive… And show off my new scarf. Then down the hill for dinner of a chicken doener (wrap) before heading back up for our evening event.

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We had heard that going to a whirling dervish ceremony was fascinating and found information for an authentic one at a monastery here in Istanbul. The Sufi perform this dance known as Sema in which they revolve (or whirl) to spiritually ascent through mind and love to “Perfect”. The most fascinating part for me was the symbolism throughout the dance and the intricate footwork involved. Also that the end represents the dervish returning to be of service to all creation, with no discriminations. We met with a Sufi leader who explained everything to us, then rode in a van around to the far side of the city, watched the ceremony, had any further questions answered, and then returned home. It was awesome to see a more “real” side of Turkish culture, and to learn that about 6,000 Turks consider themselves Sufi, or followers of Rumi.

Time to crash, but tomorrow promises to be equally as exciting so stay tuned 🙂

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