6.17.2009

Hey Columbus! We found the RIGHT way to get to Asia!

By taking a cruise down the Bosphorus Straight! Again we were woken up by the call to prayer, but didn’t get out of bed until 7:30ish just in time for some blog updates and some breakfast upstairs (with a guest appearance by our hotel’s resident cat)

Following the tram line from Sultanahmet to Eminonu, we bought tickets for the cruise at the Bogaz Iskelesi terminal and waited for our ferry. Once it arrived it was free for all to get the best seats. Having read ahead in the book, we secured some great seats on the boats upper deck on the left hand side that would allow us the best views.

The ride was very relaxing and a lot of fun. It took us 1 ½ hours to get to the last stop Anadolu Kavagi, right at the mouth of the Black Sea. We had 3 hours there before our ferry would head back to Eminonu, which would allowed us time to see the ruins of Yoro’s Castle and have a picnic. As we knew we were going to be travelling we made sure to pack a few snacks for the boat ride so we didn’t have to pay the inflated prices at the snack bar. But we needed a main dish, and the guide book recommended trying a Black Sea delicacy, hamsili ekmek (an anchovy cornbread with leeks, tomatoes & peppers), so we stopped at a bakery near the dock and picked up a loaf and made our way to the ruins. The hill to the castle was pretty steep, and it had gotten pretty warm out so we were out of breath by the time we got there…but it was worth it! The view was spectacular and allowed us to see down the Straight and the Black Sea. We found a shady spot near one of the walls and had our lunch watching the boats head to out to sea. After we hiked around the hilltop and Charlton climbed the castle tower. Then it was time to head back to the boat and we made our way back into town. Once again it was a mad dash to get seats, but we lucked out and got our same seats so we could see the other side of the Straight on the return trip.

Back in Eminonu, we headed to the Pet & Plant Market that is nestled near the Spice Bazaar. We saw all sorts of birds (parrots, peacocks, chickens & pheasants), bunnies, puppies and kittens. They also had all sorts of plant seeds and seedlings. It was really interesting. We had thought about getting a snack at the Spice Bazaar but we were both so full from the anchovy bread, so we headed back to our hotel for a nap.

We headed back out in search of dinner a few hours later determined to find some good kebabs that were cheap. We avoided the tourist areas near the center of Sultanahmet and went toward the DIA Supermarketi we frequent. We found a place we had passed the other day that had a few people inside and had some decent prices. Charlton and I both got kebabs (chicken for me, lamb for him) and they were delicious! Our favorite meal so far in Istanbul, we are planning to go back for dinner tomorrow! We then headed across the street to get some snacks (chocolate, ayran and leblebi sekeri) and then made our way to the park above the hippodrome to eat them. One the way back to the hotel past the Blue Mosque, we were treated to free Whirling Dervish show at the Dervish Café since the stage faced the sidewalk. Good way to say goodnight to Istanbul.

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