Chapter Four - Bosphorus Cruise
Trip Start Sep 28, 2011
23Trip End Oct 14, 2011
We welcome him to Istanbul and enquire about his journey. He tells us that all went well, and that he’s ready to join us for our Bosphorus Cruise. We take the tram once more to the Galata Bridge.
"Come over here my friends! My boat is the best boat in Istanbul. Very big. Very fast. We leave right now!"
Who are we to believe? Touts call us from all over convincing us that their boat is better than all the rest. We finally choose one that insists to be leaving immediately, but as with walk-on tours everywhere, they still want to wait for a few last patrons.
Finally the boat is loaded and we leave the quay. We have paid the princely sum of TL 10 (US$ 5.25) each for a 1½ hour cruise up the Bosphorus. This is the world's narrowest strait used for international navigation connecting the Black Sea with the Mediterranean. At its narrowest point it is less than half a mile wide. Lining each side of the strait are attractive and desirable suburbs. Everything we see is very well kept and modern, something we would observe throughout our trip. In spite of the fact that this is one of the oldest lands, everywhere you look things seem to be very up-to-date. Although there are many remains of the Turkish Ottoman Empire, this country has not looked back since the sultans abdicated in 1923 and Turkey became a modern republic under Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
Passing by the cruise port where swanky white passenger liners are docked we see guests enjoying afternoon tea and cocktails. Our boat serves only ayran and çay.
We sail up the European side of the strait under two spectacular suspension bridges, then down the Asian side back to the Galata Bridge.
Arriving at the quay by sunset we find ourselves in the middle of hectic rush hour. People are everywhere and the tram back to our Sultanahmet stop is packed.
This evening we try out Trip Advisor’s No. 1 recommended Istanbul restaurant, the nearby Metropolis, and are very satisfied. I try “Eye of the Sultan” lentil soup and a dark Efes. Of course we all end our meal with ubiquitous cups of çay.