Mum really wanted us to do something that I hadn’t done last time I was in Istanbul, so one afternoon we decided to do a cruise along the Bosphorus. There are plenty of companies offering cruises and plenty of people hawking them at the port at Eminonu, but we didn’t feel like navigating them all. Instead we just jumped on the first one we saw, for the bargain price of 10 TL [$5] each.
We had to wait about 40 minutes for it to depart, and it wasn’t exactly luxurious. There wasn’t anyone with a microphone pointing out and explaining the sights along the way. We didn’t care. We enjoyed sitting up top with everyone else and taking in the view. Likely we wouldn’t have remembered the names of everything anyway.
The boat went along the European side first, under the Bosphorus bridge and a bit further before turning back and heading along the Asian side. We’d inadvertently sat on the wrong side to start with, but Mum went over to find some space on the other side and never returned so I figured I should check on her. She’d met a couple of men who had moved over to let her have prime position, and they made space for me when I came over. One was from Syria and the other from Jordan, and they were very excited when I told them that I’d visited both countries and loved them. We all talked for a while and I swear they must have taken about fifty photos with me. Every five minutes they’d ask to have another one! It was an entertaining afternoon.
The view along the Bosphorus was beautiful, and the European side particularly was lined with many lovely old buildings. The Asian side was more of a mixture, with fancy expensive real estate beside old factories. It’s a wonderful way to see Istanbul, from the top deck of an old ferry. The sun was setting as we made our way back to Eminonu, giving us a soft silhouette of the skyline, pierced with the minarets of various mosques. All up we spent about two hours on the water, plus waiting time. It was pretty damn cold, especially after sunset, but I don’t regret that we just hopped on the cheapest ferry – we didn’t need all the tourist information to enjoy the ride!