Friday, August 22, 2008

Guide to a Bosphorus Cruise

The first step is to select a boat. To do this, simply stroll along the edge of the river and wait for the approach. Soon a man will appear by your side, showing you a boat, mentioning a price, describing the features of your upcoming trip with a winning smile. You may accept, or disdaining the price, move on to the next offer.

Once aboard the upper deck of your chosen ferry, you will cruise slowly through the Golden Horn, where river and sea connect, around small junk boats, individual fisherman, giant ferries, and cruise ships alike. Dozens of jellyfish float alongside your boat, and colorful apartment buildings pile upon each other on the hills to one side. Soon you will be sporting "that windblown look", despite your efforts to marshal your hair into place against the gale.

Beyond the Golden Horn you breeze along the European side of the Bosphorus, admiring Mosques and Palaces set at the water's edge, and watching a seagull join a nearby fisherman in his boat. You cross under a vast extension bridge, the first to connect Europe and Asia, and alongside a castle once built in an effort to shut down trade to Istanbul and conquer it. Eventually you put put across the river to the Asian side for the return journey.

The Asian side of Istanbul is residential, showing off beautiful waterfront homes with well-manicured hedges and glassy swimming pools. Occasionally a friendly neighborhood breaks the monotony of wealth and you see boys and men swimming off the asphalt edge of the land. A girl in a black burka wades in one private little river inlet.

Crossing back through the Golden Horn you take in the Old City on the hill far above you, the spires of the Blue Mosque crowning a series of domes and towers. New Mosque welcomes you back to port as you cross under the fisherman standing on the Galata Bridge and dock.

Watch out for your first few steps on land, they may be a bit wobbly after two hours in the swells of the Bosphorus.


JM said...

The photo of the swimmers, waving good naturedly in the sunlight, made me smile. The shrouded woman, barely visible in the shade off to the side of the same picture, made me pause. What can you tell me about Muslim women and girls? I liked imagining one of them in a private wading pool, at least. Thanks for taking me on the boat with you! JM

Tanya said...

Looks like Floyd's lettin' his hair grow a bit...Luv from The Farm...