Touts repetitively beseech you with “Bosphorus, Bosphorus, boat boat boat ride!” when you walk down Istanbul’s broad sidewalk waterfront. They are right. The boat’s the best.
We live on the Strait of Juan de Fuca across from Canada, and it is wider and has much less vessel traffic than the Bosphorus strait. There we watched all kinds of ferries, fishing boats, cruise ships, and tankers perpetually jostling for clearance. Mosques, hotels, summer homes, palaces, bridge access, and recreational beaches line the shores of the Bosphorus, both the European and Asian sides are completely developed.
We caught the 10:30 a.m. excursion ferry, and sat by the window for the hour and a half it takes to arrive at Eminönü on the Asian side, a fishing village become tourist destination. From the water we could see our goal – Adadolu Kavagi Kalesi – a ruin with a strategic position and a breathtaking view.
People piled off the ferry and dispersed. Like us, many began the steep hike up a street to the medieval castle. Rain caught us half way up, forcing a lunch stop with a view back toward the skyscrapers of Istanbul.
At the top a guard let us through the castle gate, and we leaned against a sturdy wall (only fragments remain from the original eight towers), thrilled to view the Black Sea and two continents!
Back in Eminönü, we caught a local bus full of shoppers juggling their baskets on wheels and rode past military installations, farmer’s markets, and small villages. In Kanlica, another steep climb led us to an elaborate residence, Hidiv Kasri, its impressive gardens now open to the public (and popular for wedding photos).
Back down the hill to the ferry stop, and across the strait to our beginning dock – just at sunset.
Bosphorus, Bosphorus! Yes!