I have been a lot of places including some very busy cities, but Istanbul was a whole other thing. It was packed! Besides it being busy any ways, people had come in for the holiday and the population had multiplied. On one of the main shopping drags of the city, that I can't for the life of me remember the name of right now, it was wall to wall people everytime we were there. Truly an unbelievable amount. The pictures I took won't even come close to giving the true scope of it.

The holiday was on Thursday, but everything was scheduled to be closed for four days after that. The Grand Bazaar was one of them. It was unexpected, but in retrospect when we ran through it on Wednesday afternoon on the way to Sulemaniye mosque, which also ended up being closed due to construction, it was absurdly busy even for the bazaar and we should have known. All you could see were heads. Since we weren't planning to shop right then, we just ran through the main drag of it, trying not to get knocked over, little did we know it would be our only time in there. They literally closed every door to it even though each individual stall is already closed. It was so busy because everyone was shopping for the holiday and due to the closing schedule.

The four day closure of most shops and places around the city except for the mosques also contributed to the mass amounts of people in the streets after Thursday. Everyone was off and no one had anything to do but eat and wander. Due to the closings, we took a nice Bosphorous Cruise and braved dodging the huge tankers in this waterway. I have never seen such massive ships in my life. On the way to the airport you can see them farther out in the bay just waiting to pass through, it looked like a parking lot for tankers and trawlers. The cruise is an absolute must! We did the short one, about two hours, but a standard one can be up to six hours, so choose wisely. We went up to the second bridge and then turned, getting a view of the exclusive and wealthy area up the waterway. We would later walk through this area along the Bosphorous for miles enjoying the perfect weather.

Even though so many things were closed, we did see all of the sites we wanted to including the Palace which we did on Saturday morning before we left. We did much less shopping due to the closures, which lets face is a good thing, and still got a great feel for a bustling city with every type of person and food I could ever think of.