Friday, August 22, 2014

Cruising the Bosphorus and Strolling the Modern District of Istanbul - Taksium Square and Istikal Street

June 15th, 2014

This was our last day touring Istanbul, and we had been advised to get out of the historical district to see another side of this big city.


We started our day with a relaxing 2.5 hour tour, cruising on a passenger ferry up the Bosphorus, the waterway that separates the European side of Istanbul from the Asian continent. We enjoyed taking a more relaxing pace and just soaking up the view.


We ended our cruise at this little, quaint fishing town where we had lunch. We ordered a local fried fish dish and our guide tried to get the waiter to bring our fish ‘fileted’, rather than cooked and served whole.However, ‘fileted’ to them simply meant without the head….not without the bones! It was delicious, anyway!  One real advantage of touring with our guide, Senem, was that she could communicate with our waiters and help us know what to order….and by watching Senem, we could figure out just how we should go about eating the different dishes that we were served.


After lunch, we took the metro back into the heart of the modern side of Istanbul on the Asian continent.


Taksium Square… the heart of the government district, and the site of any protest in Istanbul that one might see televised. When I asked Senem about their local news coverage of any protests (I was thinking about the recent protests about the mining accident in Turkey), she told me that their local TV was definitely government controlled. She cited one time where there was a protest going on that was covered by CNN, and their local channel was showing a program about penguins! She said that the protesters began showing up wearing penguin buttons or masks to mock the TV coverage. I LOVE it!


Across from Taksium Square is Istikal street.


A modern, bustling street to rival New York’s 5th Avenue or New Orleans’ Canal Street. In other words… was a zoo!  Ok…..paradise, maybe, for those who like to shop….but just a great time people watching, for us.

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This is a city where old meet new in so many ways…….


I got a kick out of spotting names and stores that seem uniquely ‘American’.


Can’t live without pizza…….


And, of course, Starbucks!

From Istikal Street, we said goodbye to our guide, and made our way back to our hotel.  More adventures ahead, tomorrow, as we take a flight into Cappadocia, in the center of Turkey.

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