This morning I boarded the Istanbul passenger ferry that goes up the Bosphorus to the Black Sea. It is about a two hour ride and has stops along the way. It is a common thing to do for tourists and locals alike and there was quite a crowd on board today. Rick Steves has an audio tour for the trip, so I listened to that as I went along. There are great views of the city from the water and we passed by several places of historic importance. I was especially interested in the two massive forts built by the Ottomans in the years leading up to their conquering Constantinople in 1453. (See picture) By commanding the Bosphorus, they prevented any ships from reaching the besieged city from the north. Our ferry passed under the two bridges that span the Bosphorus and thereby connect Europe to Asia. They are each less than a mile long, which shows how narrow this strategic waterway is, and they sore high above the ship traffic below. (See picture) Around 12:30 the ferry made its final stop. The little town on the Asian side has two activities for the visitor: eating lunch and climbing up to
Yoros Castle to enjoy the view. The return ferry didn't leave until 3:00 PM, so I had time to do both. I loved the views from the castle looking down to see the Bosphorus connect to the Black Sea. (See picture) The breeze was nice up there, too, because it was, as Rick says, a "moderately strenuous hike" - and a warm day, to boot. I walked back down to the town and had mussels for lunch at a water-side restaurant, enjoying the view, the boats passing, and the cormorants fishing. On the boat ride back to Istanbul, I had one of those moments that has happened to me a number of times during this trip. I think, "Wow! This is great! I can hardly believe I am actually doing this!" I'm sure it is obvious from my blog that I am really enjoying myself and it is very satisfying to visit these places I have heard and read about.
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