Touring the Bosphorus River

Trip Start Jun 05, 2006
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Trip End Jun 14, 2006


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Flag of Turkey  ,
Monday, June 5, 2006

Upon arrival in Istanbul and after going through passport control - don't forget the $20 per person for visa stamp - we were met by our host: Kazem and Turna Eldesh. They greeted some weary travelers with warm handshakes, hugs, and big bouquets of dark red carnations. Immediately we went to the hotel or I should say: "Otel." No "H" to be found here. We check in to our rooms, unpacked, short nap, freshen up and off to the Bosphorus River we go!

The Bosphorus is a narrow, navigable strait between Europe and Asia connecting the Black Sea (Pontus Euxinus) to the Marmara Sea (Propontis). It is about 31 km and varies between 1 and 2.5 km wide. The narrowest point is 700 m / 2,300 ft between the fortresses of Rumeli and Anadolu. Swift currents make navigation difficult. The average depth is 50 m / 164 ft. Along both shores, european and asian side, are many attractions including ancient ruins, picturesque villages and forested areas. Near the southern end is the Golden Horn, the harbor of Istanbul, one of the most commodious natural harbors in the world. In ancient and medieval times almost all commerce between the Mediterranean and Black seas was routed through the strait. It is still an important artery of international trade. An average number of 38,000 ships pass through the Bosphorus annually.

Our first evening in Turkey continued to be filled with great surprises. After we left the river boat tour, we made our way to a local business man's home for dinner. The family Aker hosted our group on their patio. Mr. Aker owns and operates a silk factory. We met his daughter and her husband. We also met a business women Mrs. Emir who owns and operates several well known local restaurants. It was a beautiful evening with interesting conversation about why and how a Muslim woman decides to wear a scarf, to cover her hair, how couples met and get married, and how one treats and respects the older family members.
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