One reason I like to travel is to see what other people are wearing. I am still inspired by the style I encountered in Madrid on a trip there almost three years ago. The women dressed so romantically with long flowing skirts, flowered scarves and bangles up their arms. In Istanbul the style is similar, but there are subtle twists. Not every woman in Istanbul is a practicing Muslim, but respect for Islam does impact style. Women in Istanbul dress similarly to women in Madrid in long-flowing skirts and scarves. Plus, there are a lot of people visiting from Britain, France, Russia, the Netherlands, and I only know those nationalities because those were the people we talked to. I hate to say it but usually the Americans do stand out and not because they are fashionably dressed!

I snapped this shot as I was walking down the street because I loved her skirt.

I poked my head into a couple of shops on Istiklal Street. Istiklal is a fabulous street that has an adorable old trolley that runs from Taxim Square to the end of the street. There is a ton of shopping and fabulous food. The street is always filled with throngs of people and the scent of roasted chestnuts-day and night. I can tell you that gypsy style skirts are popular and oh my goodness pastels are in, especially the mint green of my youth.

Of course I also went shopping in the bazaar. Shopping at the bazaar is a bit of an art. First you have to learn to ignore the people trying to get you to come buy their wares, which is very difficult because they do it in every language. I skip the main aisle and head back into the bazaar closer to the coffee shops. I scope things out until I see something I like and then the dance begins. I let them bring things for me to look like at and entice me with and sometimes that does work, but mainly I sit and I drink tea and talk about their work. Then I start sorting through what I must have and what I do not care for and then the negotiations begin. Keep in mind that negotiating is part of the process, but you have to let them offer a price and then you counter with a little bit lower then you want to pay. Usually it only takes a couple of times back and forth and then you agree on the price. Chat while your treasures are wrapped up and head on your way.

I saw a shop that had some beautiful embroidered fabric and pillows. I entered and starting talking to the gentleman and found out that he had owned the store for forty years and imported goods from Uzbekistan.

I fell in love with an Ikat pillow cover and then I started asking more questions. I walked out of the shop with an Ikat pillow cover and a pillow cover made from part of a Suzani (which is an embroidered bed cover) and five meters of hand made one-hundred percent silk from Uzbekistan that I purchased from a Turkish bazaar. The fabric is beautiful and I cannot wait to make something from it.

Once again I really should wait to take some better pictures, but I just could not wait to share. Here is a picture of the red Ikat that has a very traditional Turkish design of a tulip. Tulip's originated from this area and in fact Turkey is trying to reclaim their tulip heritage and have planted over 50 million tulips over the last eight years.

This is just a fabulous colorful design. The silk has a beautiful weight and it drapes beautifully. It looks even better when it isn't wrinkly!

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