The waterbodies of Istanbul are pretty confusing. I mean I am good in geography but if some landform bothers me, its bound to confuse others too! My husband on the other hand is exceptionally good with maps and hence his concepts are crystal clear. He had explained to me the three main water bodies of Istanbul in detail (Marmara Sea, Bosphorus Strait, Golden Horn) but I am still pretty much in a jinx! I still can't differentiate the Bosphorous strait from the Golden Horn!
Instanbul lies on the banks of the Marmara Sea, while the Bhosphorous Strait separates the European part from the Asian part of Istanbul. The cruise along the Bhosphorous sea is pretty significant, no trip to Istanbul is complete without it. If you have seen the movie Dil Dhadakne Do, you know what I mean.
If you book tickets beforehand, they are pretty expensive. There are a lot of varieties...with Dinners, Belly dancing, etc etc. We ditched all the tempting offers that came our way. The sunset ones are the most expensive. We walked to the banks of Bhosphorous after visiting the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque and the Topkapi Palace. Istanbul is so pedestrian friendly! I mean it was quite a distance from our apartments to the mosque are to the sea but it was incredibly pleasant!
|The European part of Istanbul...|
After bargaining we bought the tickets only to realize that they could be bought at a lower price too! Leave it. We sat on the roof of the ship and within a matter of few minutes, it was full! It was a very festive atmosphere. Our guide was screaming on top of his voice on the mic but who cared? There was so much noise all around that I could not decipher even a single word.
|The setting sun shining on my head...our only joint photo of the cruise...|
|Crossing the Galata Bridge...|
|The Bosphorus Bridge...|
The cruise was very pleasant. Cold breeze blew on my face. Who thought that in the month of July one can feel cold? I took out my Venus sweatshirt and sought warmth. The view was magnificient. We could see the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia, the never ending walls of the Topkapi Palace, the Galata tower, the Dolmabahce Palace and all the significant landmarks of Istanbul. I later realised that every mosque looked like the Hagia Sofia. We crossed the Bhosphorous bridge when the sun went down. We took a turn and entered the Asian part of Istanbul. Those parts looked frightening with thick dense vegetation in the twilight. While on our way back, the same landmarks looked even more beautiful with lights all around.
|The Maiden Tower at night...|
|The Hagia Sophia all lit up...|
It was quite late when we deboarded. WE had not slept for around 48 hours. The last sleep was in Santorini two days back. We were exhausted. But as true travellers we kept on going. We walked back all the way to our Sophia Apartments and then chatted with our new found foreigner friends all night long! It was the perfect end to our first day in Turkey!