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Izmir and Istanbul a shopping trip for sailors

We travelled to Izmir on Tuesday (in December 1998), because I need to shop some more parts for AMBERELLA and hoped to get them cheaper in Izmir.
Its a very big and crowded city. Everything and everybody is moving hastily in the streets.
After we arrived in the centre, we had to walk miles until we found an affordable hotel.

Izmir's market, the bazaar, is very attractive with lots of little narrow streets that go step up to the hills of the town. Everything's seems to be in disorder. There is fish together with vegetables and pots and pans, of course a lot of clothing and all kind of other things.

But we were looking for boating equipment and still could not find a supply shop. We started to ask around and the usual turkish game started. The turks are very friendly and always want to help. Even if they don't know the answer, they send you somewhere. After we walked from one end to another, we were told to go back were we started.
I started to ask always about the directions and if the people smiled and nodded even when I pointed in both ways, I knew they did not understand at all.

We wanted to drive into the industrial area, so we ask a young lady. But she told us there where 4 different areas and she ask which one we were looking for.
We did not know and could not explain what kind of things we need.
So she said we should come with her in the bus and she would drive with us to her friend. There she took her car and we drove with Dschingis, her friend and Pirna, the young lady, through the city.
Dschingis spoke perfect German and that helped a lot when we were at the different shops.

We were told to drive back in the centre of the city and when we got there it was said that we find the things outside of the town. I realised that not only we tourist have problems in finding things in Turkey.
So we went back to the industrial area and Georg finally found what he was looking for. Me on the other hand was not very successful. I needed toggles for the rig of AMBERELLA.
Izmir had only 4 little boating shops and I was a little disappointed because their prices did not differ from the ones in touristy Fethiye.

When we said good bye to Dschingis and Pirna, me and Georg discussed the possibility to drive further on to Istanbul.

The next day we took the bus to Istanbul. It took 7 hours for the modern and comfortable bus to arrive in Istanbul and the highlight of the trip was the ferry that leads from a town near Bursa to the suburbs of Istanbul.

At the main bus station we were picked up by Ali, a new friend we met in Fethiye and who lives in Istanbul.
With the visit in Izmir we were used to big cities, but Istanbul beats them all. This town is big! and with its traffic always in chaos travelling through it takes a long time.
We started our shopping excursion. Ali, as our guide, took us the bazaar, and the sheer endless streets with tool shops, accessory suppliers and and and....
This place must be the biggest basaar in the world. There are streets were every single shop sells AC generators, I mean there are about 50 shops in a row selling the same thing. The next street offers lamps and a few blocks further on you get the cables and switches.

I found my toggles and bought clothes, tools, cables and lamps. Within hours I spent a fortune and had to stop. But we were still not finished with the basar and I could only look. I decided to come again in Februar, when I know more about the final things I need.

The last evening we went to the famous fish restaurants near the Marmara Sea. One must have a good mood to pass all the restaurants, because every waiter tries to persuade you into his good restaurant, the freshest fish and the best wines.
It's again like a basar and there is a lot of fish and wine displayed.

I decided for a Loup de Mer (see wolf) and a nice plate of starters. It is quite expensive compared to traditional turkish food. But after days of kebap, pizza and MacDonalds we were ready for such a feast.

There was again little time for sighseeing. Another reason to come again.
Istanbul is rich on old buildings, palasts, extraordinary mosks and churches. You can even sleep in a real sultans palast if you want to spent the money.
The tales of 1001 night must be true about Istanbul. I was allways looking for the flying carpets, which are really needed during the rush hours.

Georg and me were amused when we watched the cars driving on the wrong side of the road, even on the tramway and they blocked even more traffic by this behaviour.


We took a late bus back to Fethiye and arrived after 12 hours in our rainy home town.
All in all a worthy trip and I say it again, Next time I will spend more time as tourist.

© AMBERELLA 1998

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