Day Three: Up and Down the Bosphorus

Istanbul Travel Blog

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The Bosphorus Bridge.
This morning we got up a bit earlier and after breakfast we made our way to the harbour where the ferries were docked. We had decided to take the tourist ferry up the Bosphorus. The Bosphorus Strait runs from the Sea of Marmara to the Black Sea, 32 km northwards. Bosphorus does not only separate the Western and Eastern part of Istanbul, it also separates Europe from Asia. It could only be crossed by boat until the Bosphorus Bridge, the world's 4th largest suspension bridge, was opened in 1973. A second bridge, the Fatih Bridge, was opened later.

The tourist ferry runs all the way from Istanbul to Anadolu Kavagi, close to where the Bosphorus flows into the Black Sea.
Rumeli Hasari fortress (build in 4 months!).
There was quite a crowd to get on board, but fortunately we secured a nice spot on the middle deck, out of the wind and with a relatively good view. Coffee and tea were being served, making this a relaxed start of the day after the ferry departed at 10:35 AM. While the boat traveled through the Bosphorus we passed many fortresses, mosques, palaces and villas on both of the shores. The ferry made five extra short stops along the way, so this was no matter of hopping off for sightseeing. And to be honest, it would probably take far too much time and would certainly result in palace fatigue.

Shortly after the second bridge the boat stopped at Kanlica, which is famous for it's delicious yoghurt. Vendors brought the stuff on board and before long we were sampling the fresh white stuff that proved to be very tasty indeed.
Anadolu Kavagi Kalesi as it was in the old days. ;-)
At half past twelve we arrived at the ferry's final destination in Anadolu Kavagi. Here we climbed the hill behind the town to the ruins of a castle that was originally build by the Byzantines and later restored by the Ottomans. This point offered excellent views of the Bosphorus en we were finally able to see the Black Sea (which turned out to be pretty blue for a black sea).

After nibbling away on some of our Turkish Delight and downing a beer on a terrace with a nice view over the Bosphorus and the high-rise in the most northern parts of Istanbul, far away, we walked back down to the harbour. There's countless of restaurants here servicing the many tourists that visit Anadolu Kavagi. Most offer a comparable menu at the same price. We found one close to the bus stop that also served beer and although we were skeptical about the quality I have to admit that the sardines, calamares, mussels, salad and fries were excellent value for money (15 Lira for food and a beer; roughly 7 Euro).
From left to right: bit of Bosphorus, Derk, bit of Black Sea, Ed, bit of Black Sea, Biedjee, bit of Bosphorus.


Instead of taking the (relatively expensive) ferry back to Istanbul we opted for a return trip overland, as the Lonely Planet suggested. Our destination was the Galata Tower in Istanbul. Along the way we decided not to visit any sights in order to arrive a bit earlier at Galata. At half past three we took the local bus from Anadolu Kavagi to Kanlica (40 min), where we quickly bought some more yoghurt before jumping on the ferry that would bring us from Asia back to Europe (20 min). In Bebek we took a bus back to the Kabatas tram station in Istanbul, where we took a tram to the Galata bridge and a funicular up the hill to Tünel. All in all a trip that took a bit longer than the 1,5 hours on he ferry but was also more adventurous and a lot cheaper. It was also fun travelling by public transport and it enabled us to watch life as it passed by outside the tourist areas of Istanbul.
Excellent fish menu.


Arriving at the Galata Tower it turned out to be rather crowded, expensive to visit and people were queuing outside, so we decided to take a few pictures of this 14th century structure (one of the oldest towers in the world) and head for a bar that could offer us our daily nargileh and a beer. At eight we walked further northwards into Istanbul's Istiklal Cadessi neighbourhood. Here the world suddenly changed. The historical buildings of Sulthanamet and Topkapi gave way to modern Istanbul with a broad shopping street that could easily rival Amsterdam's Kalverstraat. We would later be told that 2 million people pass through this street every day! Tourists were a minority here and the Turks were much more fashionable.

Today was Queensday in Holland and to our surprise we suddenly heard a Dutch sing-along song ('Heb je even voor mij'), played by a brass band.
The Galata Tower.
It turned out that there was a party going on at the Dutch embassy, though it didn't look like the security guards would let us in. So instead we searched and found the Nevizade Sokak, a street filled with countless restaurants and bars, all with small terraces outside. It reminded me of 's Hertogenbosch's popular Korte Putstraat, but must have been twice as long. All of the outside tables were occupied, but when we arrived at the recommended Boncuk restaurant a reservation had just been cancelled and we could grab one of these much wanted spots.

Again we decided to have cold and warm meze for dinner and they were excellent, even more tasty that the ones we had two nights ago. Especially the restaurants specialty, a maze with meat and a cinnamon taste, is worth mentioning. The food was accompanied by a nice glass of raki and after we had a cup of Turkish coffee (on the house!) we walked back down the shopping street of Istiklal and the steep streets of Galata - which are filled with stores selling musical instruments - down to the Golden Horn river.
Nevizade Sokak. I wonder if they have Efes Beer here ... ;-)
Here we caught the tram back to the hotel and called it a tiring but very satisfying day.

Pictures by Biedjee, Derk and Ed. Click here for the story from Biedjee's point of view.
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The Bosphorus Bridge.
The Bosphorus Bridge.
Rumeli Hasari fortress (build in 4…
Rumeli Hasari fortress (build in …
Anadolu Kavagi Kalesi as it was in…
Anadolu Kavagi Kalesi as it was i…
From left to right: bit of Bosphor…
From left to right: bit of Bospho…
Excellent fish menu.
Excellent fish menu.
The Galata Tower.
The Galata Tower.
Nevizade Sokak. I wonder if they h…
Nevizade Sokak. I wonder if they …
The Istanbul shoreline (Yeni Mosqu…
The Istanbul shoreline (Yeni Mosq…
Pulling out of Istanbul.
Pulling out of Istanbul.
Dolmabahaçe Palace.
Dolmabahaçe Palace.
Ortaköy Camii.
Ortaköy Camii.
On the ferry.
On the ferry.
On the ferry.
On the ferry.
Kanlica.
Kanlica.
Kanlica. According to Derk the tow…
Kanlica. According to Derk the to…
The shore of Kanlica and the Fatih…
The shore of Kanlica and the Fati…
Getting some of the ...
Getting some of the ...
... delicious Kanlica yoghurt.
... delicious Kanlica yoghurt.
Biedjee (left) and Derk (right) pi…
Biedjee (left) and Derk (right) p…
The Bosphorus shoreline.
The Bosphorus shoreline.
On the ferry.
On the ferry.
The ferry arrives in Anadolu Kavag…
The ferry arrives in Anadolu Kava…
Fisher boat in Anadolu Kavagi.
Fisher boat in Anadolu Kavagi.
Ed in Anadolu Kavagi.
Ed in Anadolu Kavagi.
Tourists arrive in Anadolu Kavagi.
Tourists arrive in Anadolu Kavagi.
Climbing the hill towards ...
Climbing the hill towards ...
... the Anadolu Kavagi Kalesi.
... the Anadolu Kavagi Kalesi.
The end of the Bosphorus and start…
The end of the Bosphorus and star…
Enjoying the view.
Enjoying the view.
View on the Bosphorus.
View on the Bosphorus.
Quite a scenic spot this is ...
Quite a scenic spot this is ...
The high-rise of Istanbul at the h…
The high-rise of Istanbul at the …
Looking for Turkish Delight.
Looking for Turkish Delight.
This needs a Little Green Bag so…
This needs a 'Little Green Bag' s…
Terrace with a view.
Terrace with a view.
Back in Kanlica, figuring out the …
Back in Kanlica, figuring out the…
On the ferry to Bebek with more Ka…
On the ferry to Bebek with more K…
In the bus back to Istanbul.
In the bus back to Istanbul.
This is what Istanbul must have be…
This is what Istanbul must have b…
How to read the Lonely Planet in a…
How to read the Lonely Planet in …
Queensday Party at the Dutch embas…
Queensday Party at the Dutch emba…
Istiklal Cadessi.
Istiklal Cadessi.
Searching for WiFi.
Searching for WiFi.
Delicious meze at the Boncuk resta…
Delicious meze at the Boncuk rest…
Istanbul
photo by: Memo