Tag Archives: unique experiences

A River of Change

A new view.

On the PierThe evidence of my hundreds of photographs, already taken in the past month, is proof that Istanbul is a city of experiences like none other. I do not have command of the English language well enough to be able to find perfect words to describe all of what I’m feeling when I walk down brick-paved hills so steep, when I squint to gaze upon the blue seas, when I taste salty olives and cheese on my lips, when I mournfully hear the prayer call or when I smell pungent, roasted meats. My senses are on fire. I have never felt so alive.

How can I adequately express in words the combination of influences on this great city? Christians. Jews. Muslims. Europe. Asia. Ottoman. Roman. Byzantium. How do you pick one book from a full library? How do you choose a favorite kitten from the litter? How do I decide what to share and what to keep? When I open my front door and step out into this marvelous energy, I step into a torrential downpour of possibilities . . .

One of my most enjoyable excursions has been hopping aboard a ferry, to cruise northward, along the Bosphorus River. This expansive river, about 30 km (18 miles) long, connects the Black Sea to the north and the Sea of Marmara to the south, which leads to the Aegean Sea, and then on to the Mediterranean. On the western bank is European Istanbul; on the eastern bank, Asian Istanbul. Two bridges and a multitude of ferries connect the east and the west here.  In the photo below you can see the two bridges. I live on the western, European side, just to the south of the southern-most bridge. There are a variety of ferry excursion companies and timetables to choose from. Our group chose a short, hour-long cruise, roundtrip from Ortakoy. This ride took us just north of the second bridge before turning around and traveling back toward home along the Asian side of the river. Multi-hour, long trips to the Black Sea, are also available, as well as evening twilight cruises, which I think would be terribly romantic! This hour long, luxurious ride cost $10 Turkish Lira, which is around $5 USD. Well worth that!

NASA Earth Observatory, Astronaut photograph ISS008-E-21752

NASA Earth Observatory,
Astronaut photograph ISS008-E-21752

As we cruised along the European side, the summer breeze catching my hair, I found myself drifting off in wonderings as we passed historical mansions and palaces, restaurants full of customers, fishing boats aplenty and residences one could only dream about. Along the river it is easy to spy fishermen. From my reading, I understand that the Bosphorus is a paradise for fish because of the different currents and varieties of depths of this great river. The fish migrate between the Black Sea and Marmara according to the season so meals with fresh fish are common here. (Click on the first photo below to see a slide show)

Time passed quickly and I wasn’t ready for the ferry to dock. This was a wonderful, and relaxing, way to enjoy views of the city. As I stepped off, I realized, again, that I’m not on vacation. I live here! I can go back and ride another cruise anytime. Thanks for reading. This week why not find a new way to experience your city?

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