Monday, June 2, 2014

Istanbul, Turkey: Bosphorus and Golden Horn

Actual date of this event: 2-7 April

One of the most important aspects of Istanbul is the water around it. The Bosphorus is the dividing line between Europe and Asia, and the Golden Horn separates the historic Old City and the rest of the European side. As soon as I read a tip on taking a boat ride up the Bosphorus, I knew that it was an absolute must for our visit.
Originally I wanted to take the Long Cruise, but after a bit of research, it was most definitely not the best way to go. The Long Cruise makes several stops and goes just a tad farther than the Short Cruise, but then it drops you in a town for three hours before returning. Basically, you are stranded in a not-so-interesting place for a while, taking up your whole day for 6 hours. So we chose to do the Short Cruise on Saturday, so we would avoid the heavy weekend crowds in the city.
We also made the correct choice in getting to the boat early because we got prime seats on the right side of the boat (substitute term for "right side" of the boat if you know what it is) which is the side that stays closest to land for the majority of the ride (another tip I had read). Along the way, we only stopped twice - both times were at Ortakoy on the way out and the way in. Luke and I made a pretty good team during our journey - him as photographer and me as assistant holding and then handing him the zoom lens and regular lens as he switched back and forth between the two. We did not have an audio guide (although it was an option for a fee), so we did not know everything we were seeing along the strait, but our guidebook pointed out a few certain landmarks. As we made our way north toward the Black Sea, we saw several mansions - many of them had swimming pools. We also saw a dolphin! We mostly just relaxed and enjoyed the ride!

{I have no clue why that picture decided to show blue skies while the rest are grey??} 

On our first day in the city, we purchase Istanbulkarts which allowed us to add money to a transport card to ride the tunnel, ferries, and trams without purchasing single tickets (like London's Oyster card). After we visited the Kariye Museum and the Theodosian Wall, we took the ferry along the Golden Horn back to Eminönü. There wasn't took much to see along the way (other than the attractions we had already seen on the way in and out of Bosphorus Cruise), but we noticed quite a few parks along the water which will make a great place for us to relax during our next visit (whenever that may be). 

When we arrived back to Eminönü, the port was busy busy as it was every other time we passed by it. So much life in Istanbul! If Luke and I hadn't added an extra day to our trip, I'm not sure we would have had the time to do all that we did, but it definitely would not have been an option to give up the Bosphorus Cruise!

Other Istanbul Posts: Galata TowerBeyoğluThe MosquesHagia Sophia & Basilica CisternTopkapi PalaceThe Bazaars & Galata BridgeKariye Museum & Theodosian WallBosphorus & Golden HornKadıköy

The Bosphorus and Golden Horn are both FULL of jellyfish! As we looked down into the water while either on the boats or walking across the bridge, we saw so many jellyfish. Sooooo many!! Gross!

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