Are planning a visit to Istanbul and worry that you will enter the Grand Bazaar and not see anything but fake leather fur-lined jackets marketed to the devushka demographic?
Do you fear you enter the Bazaar and never find your way out?
Do you hate bargaining?
Are you an Istanbul expat and concerned that your guests will deduct a bottle of duty free wine every time they suspect you are making up answers to their touristic-related questions?
Are you an Istanbul expat who hates the Grand Bazaar with the white hot passion of a thousand suns and would pay any sum to never have to set foot in there again?
Do you fall into any of these categories? If so, we cannot more highly recommend our friend, Istanbul Personal Shopper! ISP recently took the Outlaws on a day-long tour of the GB and they returned with tales of having lunch at a lokanta on the roof, finding excellent bargains on cool stuff and confidently walking away from shopkeepers who wouldn't bargain. They also had the experience of walking around Sultanahmet with someone who knows why the Blue Mosque has six minarets and other, even more obscure facts about this historic city.
ISP is an American expat who is ordinary in every way except she loves the Grand Bazaar. She is not a member of Istanbul's professional tout class and knows all the parts of the bazaar that aren't completely tacky and annoying. She knows her textiles, too, and will adapt your tour to fit any obscure interest you might have. Check out her website to learn more. The Washington Post loves her too!
Call her next time you have visitors in town/you visit Istanbul and tell her Carpetblog sent you. Her prices are reasonable, your guests will be thrilled and you won't have to go the the GB. Everyone wins!