Day 2 (afternoon)Temperature: 12 degrees Weather: warm sunny day
From the Spice Market, a very crowded underground tunnel where merchants sold merchandise was where we followed our guide to..... while tightly holding on to our bags as advised! This brought us directly to the other side of the street and right along the Strait. We immediately boarded a "Bosphorus Cruise Ship" berthed right at the pier next to several other ones. This touristic boat had two decks for us to wander freely and admire the landscape.
Standing on the ship's deck and looking all around me, action was everywhere. Close by many fishermen, young and old were fishing on a bridge with their poles hanging way down into the sea while below them, numerous people were milling about at various shops and little cafes, these being built right underneath the bridge. Boats called floating restaurants where the catch of the day was cooked and eaten by fish lovers sitting at the tables scattered around the wharf kept amazing me with their uniqueness and beauty. All the staff wore traditional Turkish clothing which was very nice!
Three hours of cruising along the Bosphorus Strait, along the Asian and European shores was what we did and how wonderful it was! Life couldn’t be any better I said to myself camera in hand snapping every little details and this, every step of the way.
From the sea, major highlights of Istanbul were seen such as the 19th
century Dolmabahce Palace, an ancient lighthouse, the 532AD Basilica Cistern, beautiful Mosques, the Rumeli Fortress, luxurious wooden houses, commercial district just to name a few. We even passed under the famous Bosphorus Bridge and saw from the sea the Beylerbeyi Palace
and to think, I was right there just several hours earlier. From the ship, the Palace looked breathtaking!
Standing on the deck, sea gulls flew all around me as Michel along with other people threw seeds into the air. After a while, the wind was a little bit cool so my beret was put on making me more comfortable. It was however extremely pleasant just to admire life along both sides of the Strait, to see the Modern and the Ancient structures all harmonized together. To see this interesting city where east meets west kind of way giving it a unique feel. The Conrad Hotel, the hotel where we stayed could even be seen at one point.
Cruising up and down the Bosphorus Strait was what we did and three hours later, we were back to square one, this whole experience having been extremely worthwhile. I was able to see and admire from a photographer's point of view endless beauty from the sea, to simply relax on the cruise ship and escape for a while all the hustle and bustle of a city’s life.
By 5:30pm, we were back at the Conrad Hotel, back on time to witness a beautiful sunset from the balcony of my room. It was a nice way to end my “Istanbul Tour by Land and Sea”!