At night the Bosporus is a dark ribbon winding between two brightly lit shores. The cruise terminal is near the Galata Bridge (well around a kilometer or so which qualifies as near) and about 30 km short of the Black Sea. In a rare attack of common sense last evening I elected to spend some of my otherwise less than useful OBC on an cruise of the Bosporus.
I won’t give you literary or lyrical prose a la Alice Hoffman. It was cold, windy and brilliant. Our bus took us from ship side across the bridge to the dock on the peninsula. As an aside, we are on the European, not Asian, side of the city where over 65% of the 15 million people live and work. An additional more than two million commute to European side via ferry, two bridges, subway. There is s second subway tunnel under construction along with a planned four lane car tunnel. Personally I don’t think it is going to make a difference in the sane traffic since either more residents of the Asian side will attempt to drive to work or more will move to that side to take advantage of newer housing and less crowded living conditions. London has the right idea: tax driving to the point where only public transport is affordable. Bicycles aren’t an option, not with these hills
Where was I?
Ah yes, freezing my face off on the river with a couple of guides and two bus loads of my very best friends. We sailed first up the European side of the river past brightly lit palaces built by Sultan 3? (depending on the palace – 32, 36 or other. When the Sultans reign stretched about 600 years give or take a few decades it is for school children and historians to know. The Republic was established ~ 1933 so at least one positive political occurrence that decade. All the expensive and name hotels are located along with the main shopping areas on this side of the city. There are mosques a plenty most built in what was referred to as the Ottoman Style. We passed an Armenian Orthodox Church. There are several Christian churches serving most of the 20k who live in Turkey (Ankara area as the Capital for most of them). There are 21 synagogues serving the 18k of 20k who make Istanbul their home.
We traveled north toward the Black Sea past the houses of the wealthy packed like tenements along the shore. We passed a huge fort which is now used for open air concerts. Turning around past the bridges we could see the lights of humanity stretching off into the distance. We cruised back along the Asian side which is obviously less dense in population before crossing back to the dock on the old city side of the river.
It wasn’t till I was on the bus that I could unclamp my fingers from the camera. Having both hat and hood, I blame my shivers on the wind. Even so, I’d do it again in a heart beat. Should I make it back to Istanbul I would like to cruise all the way to the Black Sea again.