Tuesday, January 15, 2013

No matter what the season is, one of my favorite things to do in Istanbul is take a ride on a vapur.
From early in the mornings until 10 p.m. or so, you too can take a ferry boat ride across the Bosphorus strait – the large waterway that divides the city between Europe and Asia. The vapur schedule varies so it’s best to check ahead of time here.

A few weekends ago, my husband and I took the vapur from Beşiktaş to Kadıköy. I love sitting outside on the top deck during the 20-minute ride. I need to feel the cool air on my skin so I can avoid getting seasick. It’s also the best place to be if you want to take pictures and watch the seagulls follow behind the vapur.
Locals often toss pieces of simit to the seagulls. You can see flickr photos of that here.

We both remarked how we never get tired of taking the vapur from one side of the city to the other. I suppose if we had to do it every day, we might think a bit differently. But the views of Istanbul’s minaret-studded skyline and the Old City are spectacular!
One of the city's commuter ferry boats passing by the Galata Tower.
Also, taking a 2-hour ferry boat ride from Eminönü is a requirement for any of our guests visiting us here. Our grandparents certainly enjoyed their sunny ferry boat ride back in September. I prefer the IDO Şehir ferry boat short tours that depart at 2:30 p.m. every day because these boats are larger.

While you’re waiting for your boat to depart, you’ll have time to watch the heavy boat traffic in the Bosphorus. I’m always amazed by how many boats and the varying sizes of boats that are coming and going all day. 
How many boats do you see in this photo?
The Bosphorus is a busy place to be!

Hope you enjoy my Bosphorus photos taken at different times while we’ve lived here.
A small vapur passing by the Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul.
One of the first photos I took in 2010, near Ortakoy.
Another photo showing the busy Bosphorus.
Seagulls, boats and the Bosphorus taken near dusk.
You'll often see large freight boats like this one too in the Bosphorus.

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Unknown said...

We have been staying in Beşiktaş for a few weeks because our home on Heybeliada is so cold and me and the children can get bored with so little to do inside. Your post has just made me long to go home because the vapur trips have really been such a wonderful thing about our life in Istanbul. We have stuck it out all previous winters but this year it just felt too hard. Sadly in winter the commute does mean I would never see Ville in daylight and his day would feel very long. Being in the city means on days like today when Ville can take a long lunchbreak we can pop to the Pera! We are actually planning to move to Galata this summer after 4 years on Heybeli and it is not without emotion! I love your photos in this post. They really sum up how glorious it can be to take our part in the long history of this city.

Joy said...

@Julia, Today was one of those days I wish I was carrying around my good Canon camera. But I had to do a pastry delivery so it was just too much to all carry. Hope you enjoyed your lunch together as a family! The Galata area also has its charm, and the Prince's islands are just a short vapur ride away. ;-)

Julia said...

The ferries are just the best in Istanbul. To be able to take a ferry just as a commute from one place to the next and sale along the Bosphorus is such a pleasure. We often jump on a ferry just for the sake of it when we're up there - just because we can.

Joy said...

@Julia, I like your comment, "Just because we can." Nice one! :-)

Alyson said...

I loved watching the Bosphorus. Made it hard to get work done sometimes :) We always used this website (http://www.bosphorusstrait.com/bosphorus-live/) to pull up info on the big ships coming through to see where they were coming from and heading to. You could spend hours doing this!

Joy said...

@Allyson, Thanks for the website rec. I've never seen/heard of this before. Very cool! :-)