Istanbul: Shopping The Streets.

The Grand Bazaar was a bust for me. But I knew I couldn't leave with Istanbul without doing some kind of shopping. Despite not having any space in my luggage to accommodate purchases, I felt I had to get a little something.

(Ha! Little...)

There were plenty of little shops along the streets around my hotel. Some with shop attendants who sat in front, working to get your attention.

"Miss! Miss! Where are you from? Are you from Australia!"

"I've seen you walk past here, miss. You ignore me every time. Why? Come in and look here!"

Having traveled around the world, I am used to all kinds of attempts to get the attention of me, the tourist, in order to spend money at places or give money.

Most of the time, I don't respond verbally. I simply smile to acknowledge them, but don't look at them.

But one shop on the street, right next to my hotel, kept grabbing my attention.

The shop attendant sat out front. He'd smile. But he wouldn't say anything. And even though his shop had similar stuff to all the other shops, I found myself going in to his and spending quite a bit of time looking around.

He had great lamps...

And tile coasters...

But also all kinds of ceramics and glassware. Turkish coffee cups and glass Turkish tea cups. Scarves. Trinkets galore!

At one point I asked him, "Do you ship to the States?"

He pulled out a notebook with the day's date. It listed everyone who had purchased something from him that he had to ship around the world. There were at least six names. And it was only just after noon. He also proceeded to show me, on the laptop, his Trip Advisor listing... And all of the positive feedback.

So that's when I really started to open myself up to getting something. I wouldn't even have to pack it. I could just let him ship it to me.

I grabbed one tile...

Just this one. I intend to use it as a tray. As lovely as it would be to have part of a wall done with this tile, I felt I just needed the one.

But then I also grabbed a large blue and white ceramic bowl.  And then a small Turkish coffee set for one person, in bright red. And then, I saw this...

A gorgeous centerpiece lamp. But it was massive. And even though it was only about $3k USD (which is much cheaper than how much someone would have tried to sell it for in the States), I couldn't bring myself to indulge.Even though I loved the white and tarnished silver look of it.

Bu then he showed me a smaller version of it...

"For you, I give it to you for $280 USD," he said. Not including the shipping.

"Do you have it in white?" I asked.

He did.

His men were bubble wrapping each individual glass bowl and finial on the lamp. Into a box went the lamp with all of my ceramics.

Where will I put it? I have no idea. Some day, I will own a place again. And I can see it in my dining room or even my bathroom, over a gorgeous bath tub.

But for $280 USD? I wasn't going to pass it up.

But I ended up procuring something from a street vendor that I did have to pack in my carry-on.

I was wandering the streets near the Bosphorus. I went down one street I didn't even mean to go down. There was an outdoor flea market of assorted things. And as usual, that's where I found another thing for my wonderful collection...

So far, from this European tour, I am bringing back a set from Barcelona and now a set from Istanbul.

I am pleased.