After dropping my traveling companions off to begin their week-long cruise to Greece, Croatia, and more, my taxi driver took me to the Grand Bazaar. Well, not exactly.
He dropped me off, pointed and motioned, saying something beautiful but totally incomprehensible to me. I got out, of course, as if I knew exactly what he said. I walked for a couple of hours when a middle-aged man asked me if I needed help. (My map on my lap and compass on my phone might have been clues.) "Evet," I smiled, only briefly looking into his eyes. I think we walked toward the Bazaar and he, of course, said he had a shop and invited me for kahve> We walked to his Turkish Rug shop, worked to communicate (I learned more Turkish), discussed Minneapolis where he once visited and I served as a college president, and had delicious Turk Kahve Orta (coffee with medium sugar). Finally, after the the coffee, a tour of his beautiful shop, my repeading "Hayır teşekkürler" ( no, thank you), the time had come for me to leave.
Yes, indeed, it took me four hours to get there, but, finally I arrived at the famous and historical Grand Bazzar. After walking shoulder to shoulder with hundreds of people; mesmirized by the jewelry, clothing, leather, spices, candy, and hot looking men, I trekked home. I took a few pictures which will never do Istanbul justice.
I strolled across the Galata Bridge over the magnificent Golden Horn, took the tram under the tunnel, and practically skipped with joy as I returned to my my tiny Pera Life Hotel room.
I poured a glass of wine and reflected on my first day solo travelling. It was fabulous and I was tipped over the brink to embracing my new identity: solo world traveller.