Cruising the Bosphorus: Between Asia and Europe
Trip Start Sep 07, 2006
9Trip End Sep 17, 2006
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
The view of various mosques (Istanbul is also known as the City of a Thousand Minarets) and OldNew Ottoman Houses along the river was stunning. But what really got many people (incl. yours truly) excited was the HUGE scandinavian cruise ships we encountered along the way, with exotic names such as Norwegian Princess and Holland-America Lines
The climax of the 3 hour cruise was a stopover where we climbed up a lovely hill to some castle ruins where there was a breathtaking view of the Black Sea (and NO its NOT black). This is the only place in the world where you can sit atop ancient ruins in Asia with a view of a river that joins two seas, and across that river, Europe, while stray dogs rub themselves against your ankles. Of course with a view like that, someone had to build a restaurant on the hill and charge 15 Lira (or was it Euro? I give up) for a few calamari rings, 3 mussels and 1/2 a fish. But all were very fresh. Hmph.
Back in Istanbul, we visited a tiny hidden mosque the interior (and exterior) of which was covered with the famous 16th century Iznik tiles
Dinner was at a very snooty rooftop restaurant overlooking the sun setting over the Bosphorus River. When we admitted that we hadn't made reservations, the maitre'd looked at us as if we were insects, and then grudgingly told us we could have a table "for 1 hour". The food was fabulous, however. My dad had some sort of kebab into which pistachio nuts had been incorporated. I had lamb with yoghurt. On leaving, we committed another sin when we asked to puchase 3 miserable pieces of baklava instead of a whole box costing 40 Lira (this was apparently the Him Heang of Istanbul). They threw the baklava into a plastic box and threw us out of the shop.
It was perhaps poetic justice then, that we stumbled onto the Ghee Hiang of Istanbul on the way back to the hotel. (Ghee Hiang was the original maker of Tau Sar Peah but has now been eclipsed by Him Heang). Haji Muhhidin Haci Bekir has been making Turkish Delight since 1777 and his descendants still own the shop. Needless to say, my dad and I bought 2 of everything, and at 325g per box, we are SO going to be overweight at the check-in counter. Just as well I've already opened 1 box of halva and its already half empty, so don't even mention the word calorie right now.