It is kind of one of my highlights of the trip. It takes one down to the bottom of the hill close to where the ferry and the modern tram runs and it is also close to the metro station nearby.
It is a single track but as it reaches the midway point it splits into two tracks allowing the two trains to pass each other. The service runs every five or six minutes allowing the driver to go from one end to the other. I purchased a three fare RFID enabled chipcard from a vending machine. After getting down to the lower part of the hill I was able to use it to get onto the ferry! There are no zone fares here so you only have to tap in. I took the ferry to Kadakoy and after walking around a bit I decided to take the tour that was offered. I didn’t realize it at the time but you can get off at any stop of the ferry’s journey. It does mean that one had to buy another ticket to get back to where one wants to go.
The ferry’s journey takes you up the Bisphorous to and passes under the two bridges that connect the Asian and European sides of the city. When I was in Kadakoy that marked the first time I stepped foot in Asia. The area didn’t have much but there was a huge bus station and the customary markets all over the place.
The journey up the Bosphorous passed by a lot of impressive buildings.
Eventually we reached the bridges (will fill in the names) and saw the remains of a stronghold. The fortress still looks pretty impressive after all the years.
I never got the audio guide so the details of some of these monuments are a bit sketchy. From my observation though it looks to be built in the 15-16 hundreds during the rise of the Ottoman Empire. It’s located at a narrow point in the Bosphorous thus it probably acted to defend entry into the Black Sea. The bridge is built right behind it the narrowing serving as a great spot to decrease the length of the bridge and thus it’s cost and complexity. When I have time I’ll have to look up the particulars of it. It is quite impressive though.
It was hard to get the whole thing in a single frame. The boat ride got me thinking. I think it was the first time since I left that there was time to miss those I left behind. Maybe it was the sea or all the foreign languages spoken all around me. The solo travel thing has its moments too when you see couples everywhere. It lead me to observe that in restaurants especially those on the street and even the stalls are all served by men. It may have to do with the culture and how through all the influences has ordered to be this way. I knew that the tour would soon be over so I decided to get off and enjoy the ambiance on the Asian side of the city knowing that getting back was just a short ferry ride away. The weather was really nice and it was good to just sit there and think of what I needed to do next.
I came back to the flat to pack and in the process decided to ditch the monopod and buy a small portable tripod. I saw one as I walked the streets in one of the shops and with some time on my hands decided to go for it. As I walked out the door and down the steps away from the building I realized that I forgot to grab my transit ticket with two rides left on it. I rushed back and left the door slightly ajar. One of the cats escaped. I chased after it down the winding staircase but to no avail as it slipped between a locked wrought iron gate leading down to the basement. “Damn it!” I thought to myself as rushed back up the stairs to lock up. “This is just what I need” came further thoughts and I remembered conversations with Burcu and her saying that that one comes back. I only had a couple of hours to buy this tripod. I walked briskly down the hill thinking of how I could get to the tram.
I ended up meandering through some narrow streets and eventually got to the stop. So much for the shortcut. I found the shop and bought the tripod. It’s actually really nice I just need the right subject matter to shoot now. I shouldn’t wait for long on this trip. I looked at the time and I still had time to grab some food and walk through the spice market. In this market it reinforced my observation that you can buy pretty much anything you could think of. People sell everything and anything here. I find it kind of refreshing on our age of computer shopping.
I know one can find the same things in our western shops but maybe it has to do with the way it’s all presented heather it’s spices or tools.
All of them kind of out in the open. This is just a small portion of things I’ve seen here in Istanbul.
I got back to the flat and hoped to say bye to my host but she has been working in her thesis and if she is feeling motivated then it’s alright. Having been a student for a long time I know how it is. As I fiddled with the difficult lock to get inside the cat came back. The successive attempts to get the key just the right distance for it to turn have it the sign that someone was coming back. I cleaned myself up and decided to give myself plenty of time to get to the airport. It’s a good thing I did. As I rounded the corner to catch the airport coach the skies opened up and it started pouring.
The cascading effect was the corresponding traffic jam. Eventually I did make it to the airport a few minutes early but not as long as I initially thought. The delays would continue into the next day… 😊