When in Instanbul ..... sail the Bosphorus

Istanbul is vast, and it would take you a couple of weeks to take it all in properly. Part of the ‘problem’ is the fact that it straddles two continents, with the Bosphorus channel in between. At its narrowest point it’s probably only a kilometre across, which becomes relevant when you consider that this is southern Russia’s ONLY sea link to the outside world. The volume of commercial traffic that goes through this tiny sliver of sea is quite astonishing; the strategic importance of this channel is beyond description. It also makes the volume of boat traffic that criss-crosses these waters slightly…nerve wrecking, with tiny sail boats literally dodging and playing chicken with the biggest of oil tankers.

With only a couple of days in the city and so many interesting sights to see in central Istanbul, a boat trip on the Bosphorus was therefore the perfect way to view a bit more of the city. We boarded the boat in Sultanahmet with beautiful views of all the old monuments, including the Topkapi Palace, the Aya Sofya and the imposing Suleymaniye Mosque. We went under the Galata Bridge along the Golden Horn and watched as the locals caught fish from the bridge. The huge passenger liners docked next to the Istanbul Modern art museum dwarfed our little boat by comparison. We sailed alongside all the super glamorous nightclubs in Besiktas and the beautiful waterside wooden summer residences built by the Ottoman aristocracy. In the end, the famous sights, such as the Dolmabahce Palace, the Bosphorus Bridge and the various fortresses were imposing, but it was seeing the locals sitting at trendy waterside restaurants or families eating ice cream on the waterfront that made us want to go back to Istanbul one day to explore some of these smaller fishing villages. One day we might….

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