03/03/2014 – Hippodrome, Grand Bazaar, Yeni Mosque, Rustem Pasha Mosque & Blue Mosque & Bosphorus Cruise
After exploring the Rustem Pasha Mosque, I followed the crowd’s flow towards the Eminonu pier from where one could take the cruise along the Bosphorus. The Bosphorus is the straits that separate Europe and Asia, which joins the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara. I did not book the cruise in advance.
As I neared the pier, it got busy with people shouting and holding placards indicating the price for the cruise. I was aware of the infamous scam for Bosphorus cruise. People had reported to have been cheated for as high as TL50 for the cruise. They were so many piers to choose from. When a man shouted at me that the ferry would be leaving the pier soon and I should hop on if I wish to go on the Bosphorus Cruise, I agreed to hop on for a price of TL10.
This is the kind of ferry one should be expecting for Bosphorus Cruise.
Many people had boarded the ferry before. So it was difficult to get a seat on the upper deck. The narrow edgy walkway was lined with chairs. After squeezing in, I got a seat at the lower deck. There was also indoor seat for the families complete with air condition. As I had worn my warm clothes and gloves, it would not be a problem to stay outdoor. So I enjoyed the breeze.
The Bosphorus was lined with building with impressive buildings such as wooden waterside villas known as yalis, graceful mosques and opulent 19th century palaces.
Among the interesting places that could be seen from the cruise:-
1. Dolmabahce Palace – This is the 19th century palace which was built in 1856. Interestingly, this place was built when the Ottoman Empire was in decline. From the ferry, all that could be seen was a series of ornate gates which were used by the sultan to enter the palace from his imperial barge.
2. Mecidiye Mosque – a Baroque mosque on a promontary near the ferry pier at Ortakoy. It was built in the time of Sultan Resat. The importance of the mosque is that it serves as an example of late Ottoman architecture.
3. Fortress of Europe – the fortress was built by Mehmet II in 1452, as a prelude to his invasion to Constantinople.
4. Yenikoy – 19th century villas dating from Byzantine time
5.Anadolu Kavagi – A ruined 14th century byzantine fortress, the Genoese Castle.
For all the time I spent on the cruise, I made friend with a handsome boy who used many ways to communicate with me. Always with that heart melting smile.
After nearly two hours on the ferry, the ferry docked at a different pier. The views as we neared the dock:-
Not long, we were greeted with “Madam, imlek baliksi!” or “Madam, fish sandwich”. So I told myself, oh this was the famous imlek everyone who had been to Istanbul proudly talked about. One imlek costs TL5 which is about RM10. It was a good bargain as the size of the fish sandwich is big.
I was lucky another customer who was eating imlek nearby taught me how to eat imlek with the sauce. Undoubtedly, imlek was delicious.
The end of my journey to Istanbul. Onwards to Southeastern Anatolia, Turkey.