People have lived in Istanbul (i.e., Constantinople) and its surrounding area since 6,700 BC. During this time, it has been controlled by the Greeks, Romans, and Ottoman Turks (to name a few of the more notable conquering cultures). As we planned our 13-day itinerary through Greece and Turkey, Istanbul was one of our priorities.
Istanbul/Constantinople’s attraction through the centuries? The Bosphorus Strait! This strategic waterway is the only passage between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean.
I had heard about the Bosphorus all of my life but was not prepared for the beauty of this 20-mile long strait that separates Europe from Asia and I was eager to experience it onboard a yacht. It was a beautiful, sunny day for a yacht cruise of this famous waterway.
As we made our way into the Strait we were forced to dodge oceangoing oil tankers and other large ships dwarfing our small vessel (which looked larger at the dock when we boarded!). Approximately 48,000 ships and tankers make their way through this strait annually.
Once we navigated out of the commercial lane of traffic closer to the shoreline we were rewarded with views of lovely neighborhoods perched on hillsides, Ottoman palaces, historic fortresses, old wooden villas, mosques, hotels, parks, and restaurants. And, due to the weather, it seemed as though all of Istanbul had retreated to the Bosphorus for a day in the warm May sunshine.
As we cruised under two of the suspension bridges connecting Asia and Europe I could not help but reflect on the thousands upon thousands of people who, through the centuries, had made this 20-mile journey down the Bosphorus Strait, both in times of peace and times of war. After 4-hours of admiring the lovely scenery (which oddly reminded me of Lake Como) we stopped for lunch in Arnavutkoy at the Eftelya Restaurant before we returned to Hotel Desaadet for our last evening in the Old City.
Mary Beth I have a passion for creating and experiencing unforgettable moments and sharing those with others. I hope that this story has helped you experience one of those moments.