Turkey İstanbul 2002.09.12 - 09.15

City of Paradise 2

Each time we return to İstanbul, it feels like paradise. On our third visit to the city, we returned to the Turkmen Hotel in Sultanamet. The hotel staff remembered us. We returned to our favorite restaurant, Halep Ocakbaşı. (For more information see our earlier İstanbul page.) Again, we were welcomed back with open arms and big smiles. A former Turkmen Hotel employee now works at Amphora Hostel, a place we lodged once last year. More reunion hugs. We always feel at home in İstanbul.

On earlier visits to İstanbul, Masami wanted to boat on the Bosphorus Channel that connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Black Sea. This time we toured. Boats depart Eminönü dock 3 three times per day. The last boat leaves at 13:30. Return boats are many hours later. To see the Bosphorus without an extended layover at one of the northern ports, board the 13:30 boat from Eminönü and connect with the first return boat at the 3rd-to-last stop. The fare is TKL 2.5 million (US$1.51) one-way and TKL 5 million (US$3.02) round-trip.

On the Bosphorus Channel, see the best views of the mosques in Sultanamet. See the riverside palace of the Ottoman sultans. See the spacious riverside houses with a million-dollar view. A local man tells us these houses sell for between US$200k~300k. Sounds pretty reasonable. Don't miss Bosphorus University, Turkey's more prestigious, above the fortress that was once a toll collector that extracted taxes from all shipments in and out of the Black Sea.

The former sultan's palace from the Ottoman Empire is an impressive structure on the bank of the Bosphorus.
One of İstanbul's hundreds of small mosques on the bank of the Bosphorus.

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