Wednesday, November 21, 2012

* This Dreamer's Istanbul

My father and I left very early, not knowing what time the next ferryboat across the Bosphorus would be.  Drove from Çamlık to the historic Kadıköy district with ease, and started looking for the parking garage my brother recommended.  If you've ever traveled to Istanbul, you know what a maze those older parts of the city can become under your wheels while you are looking for the most obvious of places.  Of course we ended up getting lost, and unintentionally started following a trolley!  

After hitting several dead end streets, and driving backwards for a while, we finally found a parking spot conveniently located across from the ferry docks.  We got our old style ferry tokens, and waited just for a few minutes in the historical building before the doors opened to the flood of people to board our ride:

On the ride to the European side, I opted for the starboard side of the ferry, and got a good view of the monumental historic Haydarpaşa train station:

The Maiden Tower:

And more:

A half hour ride brought us to Beşiktaş on the European side of Istanbul, where we took a cab to my final destination at Nişantaşı where I met with one of my best friends since middle school.  Along the way we passed by yet another historical building in Maçka, which currently houses the Mining Engineering Department of Istanbul Technical University, and where I got to stay in the guest houses many years back:

Following the couple of lovely hours with my friend having lunch and conversations as satisfying as the delicious food we had, we hailed another cab to make it back to the ferry docks to head back. But first, we had to do the very typical thing of getting some roasted chestnuts from a street vendor to enjoy the warmth of those round scored fruits in our hands, and their sweet taste on our palates.

The taxi driver with the undefiable skills of a sword-juggling circus performer in avoiding danger, took us through the narrow cobblestone city streets with steep dispositions.

For the return trip, we situated ourselves on the starboard side of the ferry again to face the European shores of the Bosphorus.  As we departed the port, the delicately beautiful Dolmabahçe Palace quickly came into view, followed by piles of concrete buildings covering all possible surfaces on hillsides with more historical monuments in the background.  Without much need for squinting while watching the video below, you can make out the silhouette of the Galata Tower where the first successful human-flight experiment was performed by Hazerfan Ahmet Çelebi in the 17th century:

Once we made it back to the Asian side, the rest of the way was uneventful but very pleasant to my mind still lingering in the salt-water sprinkled memories of the past few hours.

Thank you Istanbul, this was a magical day!

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