Daily Archives: 18 December, 2008

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Sixth Day @ Istanbul

After a hectic first five day, Liping and I slowed down a little for today. We just want to relax a bit, eat something nice, look at some gorgeous view without a lot of walking.

So we did the Bosphorus Straits Cruise.

The Start of Bosphorus Cruise

The mighty Bosphorus Strait runs from the Sea of Marmara at the Galata Bridge, all the way to the Black Sea, 32 km north. The strait’s name is taken from ancient mythology, roughly translates from ancient Greek as the “place where the cow crossed”; (it’s a long story). The strait separates Asia and Europe, both shores densely populated and have attraction galore for the day visitor.

Bosphorus Cruise: From Emimonu to Besiktas

Liping and I took the Bosphorus tour which make many stops along the way, including Uskudar, Besiktas, Kanlica, Yenikoy, Sariyer (where most visitors will alight), Rumeli Kavagi and finally Anadolu Kavagi, where we stopped for an hour or so before making another trip back to Emimonu.

The Bosphorus Bridge

Along the way, we took in the many great sights along the shores of Bosphorus. One of the highlights was the famous Bosphorus Bridge. For millenia, crossing the strait meant a boat trip – the only exceptions were the few occasions when it froze. Late in 1963, the Bosphorus Bridge, the fourth-longest suspension bridge in the world, was opened. For the first time there was a physical link across the straits from Europe to Asia. Traffic was so heavy over the bridge that it paid for itself in less than a decade.

Bosphorus Cruise: From Sariyer to Rumeli Kavagi

During the two-hours journey, Liping and I took in many interesting sights, most of which were properly photographed by yours truly. The weather was cold and crisp, the sky was a little overcast, and everything was pretty serene. We found ourselves to be relaxing onboard… just what we needed.

At the Anadolu Kavagi Ferry Terminal

At the end of the journey, we spent about two hours at Anadolu Kavagi, where the Bosphorus excursion ferry finishes its journey. It’s a pleasant spot in which to wander and have a seaood lunch at one of the touristy places on the square in front of the ferry terminal.

My delicious grilled seabass

I had the best seafood meal in Turkey right here at Anadolu Kavagi, although the touting scene here was not for the fainthearted. I think we easily spend hour over the leisurely lunch. Liping and I enjoyed ourselves very very much.

Anadolu Kavagi Kalesi

After the hefty lunch, we made the somewhat-steep climb up the hill to an ancient Byzantine fortress. Perched above the village, the ruins of Anadolu Kavagi Kalesi wasa medieval castle that originally had eight massive towers in its wall. First built by the Byzantines, it was restored and reinforced by the Genoese in 1350, and later by the Ottomans.

The View of Bosphorus Straits... and the Black Sea in the distance

This was where the Ottoman army watched out for invading armies, traveling into Turkey from the Black Sea (in the background) for the Bosphorus Strait. Standing at the ancient ruin was an experience to behold. Liping and I took about half an hour to walk up from the village to the top of the hill here, and it was well worth it. Though the site was littered with debris (picnickers, probably), the spectacular view of the Black Sea was worthwhile.

Here are more photos of Anadolu Kavagi.

We rushed back to the terminal just in time to catch the return ferry. We eventually got back to Emimonu, went back to Sultanahmet for dinner, had a long shower, went up to Bahaus bar for some drinks and hang out with some fellow backpackers. I stayed on at the bar quite late with drinks and stuff, and it was then I get to know three Finnish friends who have just arrived at the backpackers place – Yasmin, Erno and Marko. But the poor things were soooo tired that we didn’t get to hang out late into the night, so consideringly, it was an early night for me.

For once!