We went to Istanbul ready to shop. On the flight over, we made a pact to spend no more than $500 on a rug...and we only could buy it if we were truly, madly in love. We read articles about how to barter and decided Andrew would lead the charge while I would serve as the final say (duh). And we knew that because of our light hair, we'd stick out like sore thumbs (we did). In fact, the salesmen at the Grand Bazaar thought we were Australian and tried to lure us into their shops with "G'day mate!" at every corner. We watched as they rolled out rug after rug (Andrew even pitched in to help once). The carpets ranged in complexity, color, and design, but each one was described to us as "beautiful, perfect for you!" We sipped the apple tea—a must while rug shopping—and heard stories of travels to the US. "I go to Chicago...yes, 14 years ago!"Ultimately, four rug shops and two visits later, we decided to pass. Nothing stood out enough, nothing felt enough like us, and nothing was worth the price—even after Andrew's bartering. We learned: 1. You're always be charged more as a tourist. 2. Pay in local currency. 3. Never look interested in buying. 4. The first price is the worst price. But by not buying a rug, we had more liras to spend on Turkish towels, a robe for Andrew, local olive and soap, and jewelry for me (check out our loot in the final photo below). Do I regret not buying more ceramics, pillowcases, and towels? Of course. But this trip wasn't about amassing stuff. The memories we made and the photos we took were enough.