The Bosphorus River is one of the highlights of Istanbul, and although my visit was somewhat spoiled by the weather, there’s no doubt that this is a really lively place! And if you can’t afford one of the cruises, then just spend 5TL on a balik ekmek instead!
I spent some time on this side of the Bosphorus River after having an adventure around Taksim Square and Istiqlal Avenue. There were many shops around There, plus lots of food options, but it was very built-up and noisy (a bit like London’s Regent Street on a weekend), so I was keen to get back to the Bosphorus and spend a little bit of a quieter time. I actually walked all the way from Taksim to the area seen in my photos above (I still don’t know the exact location), rather than catch the tram again, which I had taken on the outward journey. Even though it is quieter and more serene beside the Bosphorus, it still the usual Istanbul hive of activity, only this time involving fishermen – and the odd demented seagull!
I did think about going on one of those cool Bosphorus River cruises, and I could see many ferries plying their trade before me, but I figured that it was getting pretty late in the afternoon (walking from Taksim took longer than I had anticipated) and I wouldn’t be getting value for money on such a miserable day weather-wise anyway. It’s no surprise though that these tours are wildly popular with the tourists, and there are many different companies you can sail with – some of which even have seasonal discounts, so remember to do your homework beforehand!
To add to the atmosphere, there were many food vendors selling Turkish bread rings (known as “simit”) and balik ekmek, which is a classic fish sandwich. So that’s where all the fish end up going once the fishermen have reeled in their lines?! I couldn’t resist buying myself a balik ekmek as I people-watched in this area beside the Bosphorus. It was great to sample a classic piece of Turkish street food while at the same time immersing myself in one of Istanbul’s busiest areas. And what of the fish sandwich? Well, I haven’t ever tried one before, but it was tasty enough – but you have to watch out for the bones, as the vendors here serve their freshly-caught and quickly-grilled fish with the bones in! Still, I rate it as one of the finest (and most unique) sandwiches I have eaten abroad.
Even though the weather was pretty dull and the waves on the Bosphorus were larger than they should be, I still got a great glimpse across the river of the city of Istanbul on the horizon. No amount of cloud and mist could obscure the unmistakably great sights of the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia in the distance.
I now just had one thing to do before it started raining: find some Turkish Tea to reduce my fishy breath!