Category Archives: Istanbul

Europe for breakfast and then to Asia for lunch

I breakfasted in Europe, climbed on board the Bosphorus tour ferry at 11:30 am and was having lunch in Asia before returning to Europe for a cold beer in the evening.

When you are living in Istanbul that’s not difficult to achieve, in fact the whole trip took just over 6 hours, and 3 of them were on the ferry cruising the Bosphorus.

I was on one of the many ferry trips that originate out of Istanbul (Europe). The Bosphorus waterway is constantly is use by the local ferry operators, the local merchant shipping operators and then the larger scale operations that use the Bosphorus as an access way through to Crimea and other countries with Black Sea coastline.

Mine was a tourist trip and we made 5-6 stops along the way to collect other passengers, but in the main we just cruised along admiring the Summer Homes, the Palaces and Consulates that have prime water front addresses.

At Anadolu Kavagi (Asia), the northern most point of the cruise there’s a 3 hour break that provides time for lunch and for those with a little bit of energy, time to climb the hill behind the village and look over the ancient castle that sits on the ridge line with views north to the Black Sea and south to Istanbul.

If you decide to stay in the village expect to be harassed by every restaurant maitre de as you walk through the streets. There’s staff in cafes, ice cream stalls, patisseries, souvenir and jewellery stores all out to assist in lightening your wallet.  At the allotted time I was pleased to escape the constant attention from the street vendors and re-board the ferry back to Istanbul.

The return trip isn’t nearly as exciting or interesting because theres nothing new “just around the next corner” as it’s a replay of the mornings sights.

I had been non committal about taking this cruise but looking back now I’m pleased I made the effort and used 1 full day from my Istanbul stop-over to complete it.

I’ll leave all the useless information about water flow rates, depth of the channel and much more for you to read at wikipedia – it’s an extensive read (

Here’s some of my photo’s from the day out.  Share with your friends if you like them – thanks.

Spice Bazaar – Dried Apple to Iranian safron, take your pick.

BLOG_SpiceMarket-5152While in Istanbul I visited the Spice Bazaar. It is located on the western end of the Galata bridge, close to the New Mosque. There’s about 80-100 shops in the bazaar and they all used to be spice based on spice sales but there are now a number branching out to dried fruits, jewellery, sweets and souvenirs.

I left with an assortment of dried fruit that I munched on over the rest of the day. I’d asked for a sample of each of the fruits the stall holder had, it cost me back about 17 lira ($8-9). The fruits were fantastic, dried pineapple, mango, green apple, banana and there were others that I couldn’t name

In the same area is a general market space selling just about anything you can think of. Pots & pans, scarfs, children’s toys, fabrics, cameras, small electrical appliances – there just doesn’t seem to be a limit. This shopping area is enormous and commences down by the railway line and pushes up the hill toward the mosques and Topkapi Palace.

Enjoy the photos and share with friends if you liked them.

Panoramic views of Istanbul from the Galata Tower

BLOG_Galata-5203From it’s wowing platform the Galata tower has panoramic views in all directions of Istanbul city.  To access the viewing platform you can climb the 143 stairs, or if a more easy option is desired take the lift.

The tower can be seen from almost all of Istanbul due to it’s positioning high on the ridge in the Galata area of the city.

A tower has been known to exist in the Galata region since the 5th century BC. The tower on the current site was first built from wood in 528 and used as a lighthouse.

The wooden structure was destroyed by earthquake and was reconstructed for defence purposes. In subsequent years it was used as a point for astronomical observations, fire spotting, and in 1579, to house prisoners of war.

The most unusual use would have to be as a launch site for unpowered flight!  In the 17th century a scientist named Hazerfen Ahmet Celebi jumped off the tower and using wings he had fashioned himself, flew 6 kilometres to the other side of the Bosphorus strait. Not all ended well for him though, the Sultan of the time initially planned to award him for his endeavours but then changed his mind believing him to be a threat. End result – he was exiled to Algeria.

At it’s base the tower is 16.5 metres with walls 3.75 metres thick. At the top the walls reduce to 20cm in thickness.

The Galata tower is recognised as one of the greatest buildings in Istanbul and it is the oldest tower in the world still open for visitors.