Foolproof calculation suggests that I’m in fact 24 years old. 8765.81 days to be exact! Birthday celebrations always bring to mind the activities of birthdays past and the miles in between, many of which were spent among family back in Texas or as most recently over brunch with loved ones.

A year ago however you would have found me wandering the Egyptian Market of Istanbul, cruising down the Bosphorus Strait, or on a less exotic note doubled over from some stomach virus!

So here’s a tribute to my 23rd birthday- Spent in the great cities of Byzantium, Constantinople, and Istanbul.

Leaving the Pension, we catch the tram, making our way down to the Bosphorus.
Leaving the Pension, we catch the tram, making our way down to the Bosphorus.

Leaving our Pension to catch a tram down to the Galata Bridge. Catching colorful sights of national heritage along the way

Galata Bridge
Galata Bridge, lined with restaurants, children selling hand-rolled cigarettes, and a slew of fishermen.

Down at the Galata Bridge, men call out “Bosphorus, Bosphorus, Bosphorus” luring us to a cramped kiosk where we bought tickets for the “Şehir Hatları” or traditional ferryboat that would take us from the Golden Horn (where the Bosphorus connects to the Sea of Marmara) to Anadolu Kavağı (a small fishing village on the shore of the Black Sea). A voyage that would run approximately 6 hours which includes a 3 hour layover at Anadolu K., a town known for their fish market and archaeological ruins.

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Looking back at Istanbuls’ “Old City” aboard the “Şehir Hatları”. Minarets reach towards the heavens across the entire skyline of Istanbul proper.

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The “New City” on the Asian side. To our right is the Galata Bridge. Straight ahead the Galata Tower (aka Christea Turris, Latin for “The Tower of Christ) a medieval tower built in 1348.

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Residences along the Strait

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Catching another glimpse of “New Town” before it’s out of sight.

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Watch Tower 1 (European Side)

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Watch Tower 2 (Asian Side). 

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Yoros Castle (aka the “Genoese Castle”) is a product of the Greeks and Phoenicians. Anadolu Kavağı rests as the base of this castle which has overlooked the Black Sea for thousands of years. A three hour layover leaves just enough time to explore both the town and ancient castle.

The land is littered with remains of Istanbuls’ past. Watch towers and ruins of great walls, lighthouses and castles can be seen all along the Bosphorus.

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Anadolu Kavağı, a small fishing village with markets known for their fish, cafes and ice cream.

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Fresh clams with chips and a view to the sea…

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It’s clear where the Black Sea begins as the water gets choppier and the clouds more ominous.

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Fresh ice cream produced from the local livestock. Life is good here, slow paced and all around a foodies delight.

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Back aboard the Şehir Hatları,  revving up the ferry to make our return trip.

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Refreshed we find ourselves at a restaurant recommended by Rick Steves… well his travel guide “Rick Steve’s Istanbul”. Where to start but with two craft beers from Istanbul.

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The sneaky chef sends out a B-day drink, no questions asked 🙂

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Domatesli Tavuk Sote“– Turkish salad w/ chicken saute

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“Yogurtlu Makarna“- Lamb stuffed ravioli w/ yoghurt and mint.

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Leaving the restaurant we were swept into a hookah lounge where we befriended a local who goes by “Sheesha Mon”, a little Jamaican-slang with a Turkish vibe, I like it.

This goes on until our eyes began to droop and our bladders couldn’t tolerate another drop of mint tea, moving on we crawled back to our hotel and into bed.

Until next time…

Yallah-bye

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