Istanbul. So Much To See

Constantinople? Istanbul?

There are two sides of the city. One is in Asia (Anatolia) and the other Europe (Rumelia). It’s truly where the two continents meet. Crossing the bridge over the Bosporus, the narrow strait that connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara, which ultimately connects with the Mediterranean. This narrow strait is actually the most narrow used for international shipping. Sitting on the European side of Istanbul and watching the massive container and tanker ships is a great way to get away from being overloaded on art, history and architecture of Istanbul.

Perhaps the last great Roman ruler, Constantinople made his last bad strategic decision – that is to move “Rome” to the hills above the Bosporus. He did this around 330AD and called the new Capital Constantinople. Then in the 1400’s the Ottoman Turks, well on their way of building an empire took Constantinople and ultimately renamed it Istanbul.

Connecting with my new Brit friend, Patrick, who I met a week or so earlier, together we explored Istanbul on foot. Still amiss that as a British national he had no problem securing an Iranian visa, whereas us less fortunate Americans are consistently denied. We road across the Bosporus using the efficient and inexpensive public ferry system. This way one can “sail” from Europe to Asia. And just a few days before I rode from Asia into Europe. It’s maddening. But it’s true.

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Looking over the sea of Marmara, I spot Constantinople or modern day Istanbul. It’s over these waters that someday my bike will head back to America.

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Always making friends with the local authorities. I found the Turkish police to be much like the police in other countries: friendly, curious and funny!

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Arriving in Istanbul at night, I took the chance to have a beer and a plate of hummus while gazing out at the iconic AyasofyaIMG_9115_2.jpg

This tiny passage is the narrowest used for international shipping – the Bosporus.

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It’s always time for Chai – as Patrick demonstrates.

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Patrick shows off his iranian Visa!!! I won’t see one of these anytime soon.

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Decorative takes on art are abundant in Istanbul – check out this shoe shine box!

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Riding the local ferry across the Bosporus.

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Istanbul Haydarpaşa, the main train station on the Anatolian side of Istanbul. It was build on over 1,000 wooden piles slammed deep into the seabed and as such it is like a peninsula surrounded by water on three sides. Built between 1906 and 1908, It was a gift to Sultan Abdulhamid II from Kaiser Wilhelm II, his ally.
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