At around 3 p.m. each day, my tour guide and I would part ways—she to her home and family, and me to my wandering. Only once did I attempt to take the train or metro system on my own. (It didn't go well.) Instead, using my poor sense of direction and then, Google maps on my phone, I would walk back to my Airbnb, taking time to explore on my way.
My first day, I decided to walk around the edge of the historical peninsula, along the edge of the Marmara Sea, the Bosphorus Strait, and the Golden Horn. I didn't even know what these waters were called then. I just knew I wanted to walk by the sea.
Image from Turkey Travel
The first challenge, strangely enough, was getting to the sea. From the New Mosque and Spice Bazaar, which I discussed in my last post, I walked south and west: up past Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, and the Hippodrome; down through neighborhoods that were built into old city walls; around little mosques, cemeteries, and hotels; until, finally, I made it to the shore.
Views on my way to the sea.
Just outside the Little Hagia Sophia Mosque—which I stumbled upon entirely by accident—I ran into this sweet cat. It tried to follow me home. I would have adopted it if I could have!
It was a cool, overcast afternoon and perfect for pictures on the water. Just offshore on the Marmara Sea, giant ships sat, waiting. I wondered where they'd come from, what they carried, and where they were going. The logistics of international shipping and trade fascinate me.
It was quite calm on the Marmara side. As I walked northeast and then west, around the corner of the peninsula, it became quite windy, as you'll see.
In the images below, I am looking first towards the Asian side of Istanbul (the tall tower in the second image is a media tower); and then at the 15th of July Martyrs Bridge that connects the European and Asian side of Istanbul; and then at cats playing on the seashore (I couldn't get over it!), fishermen, and the old city wall near Yenikapı Şehir Park.
The park was under construction while I was there, unfortunately, but I did get a picture of the Turkish flag flying above the construction.
In the below image, I am looking back at the Marmara Sea just past Yenikapı Şehir Park.
Rounding the corner of the peninsula on the Golden Horn side, I could see the Galata Tower across the Galata Bridge. I walked across this bridge (and past about a thousand fishermen) to get home.
I took the below images from the Galata Bridge, looking back at the Old City. The third picture on the right is Hagia Sophia.
Once across the bridge, hours after parting with Gamze, I finally wandered up the steep hill to back to my Airbnb in the Karakoy District. My head was full and my heart the same.
There truly is nothing like the sea.