Monday, February 20, 2017

U is for Üsküdar

Having moved six times in the past 10 years, with four of them international moves, it’s often the simpler things in life that I miss about a place – besides the people we’ve met and befriended.

One such fondness from nearly three years of living in Istanbul is quickly crossing from Europe to Asia in 10 minutes via the iconic yellow-trimmed white vapur (ferry boats). Walking from our apartment in the Beşiktaş neighborhood past all the local stores, we picked up the vapur from the iskele located along the Bosphorus. Once we boarded the boat, the Bosphorus breeze started blowing in my blonde hair. Seagulls chased us, being the scavengers that they are, begging for lil nibbles from other passengers. If you have time, you can even buy a glass of Turkish tea on board.

The quickest way to cross from Europe to Asia is to take the vapur from Beşiktaş to Üsküdar. Boats depart nearly every 10 minutes during the day, so it’s easy to do.

Üsküdar is not a typical neighborhood you would visit as a tourist, necessarily. It’s a more traditional neighborhood with older ladies wearing long trench coats and headscarves going about their normal day-to-day activities. Üsküdar is almost like a village the middle of the giant megalopolis. With just a quick boat ride, you can plunge yourself into a very culturally different atmosphere from the touristic side of the city. It’s a quick trip that I definitely recommend!
 Of course, I couldn't resist having my own glass of Turkish tea while admiring the Kız Kulesi and the city's minaret-studded skyline. Gorgeous!
After looking through some old photos, I’d almost forgotten that Üsküdar is one of the best places to see the Kız Kulesi (Maiden's Tower) – the city’s legendary lighthouse in the Bosphorus. Once you exit the boat dock on the Asian side, follow the coastal road in a southerly direction, walking for 10 minutes or so. Eventually, you’ll find an area filled with benches and Turkish waiters serving up copious amounts of tea.  

This is what I miss – simple moments like this one that I took for granted when I lived in Istanbul.

What do you miss from places you’ve lived before?

I’m linking this post to the monthly travel guide link up organized by Fiona, a fellow Australian blogger, at Tiffin Bite Sized Food Adventures. Each month features a new letter of the alphabet. This month is the letter “U.” Please pop on over to Fiona’s blog to read more travel stories or feel free to link up your own!

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jaz@octoberfarm said...

is turkey the favorite place you've lived? i always miss the local markets. though i can get pretty much anything i want/need there is nothing like the local markets.

Alan said...

you almost make living in a big city attractive! Istanbul is fantastic, amazing and crazy - three days at a time is about as much as this country boy can handle.

BacktoBodrum said...

When I lived away from Bodrum, I missed my daily walk on the harbour front.

sherry from sherrys pickings said...

I really like that photo of the tea cup and the tower in the background. very mystical and beautiful. I would so love to get to Istanbul - well one of these days!

Joy said...

Hi Joyce, yes, I still miss Turkey but am fearful for what it is becoming as well. Oh, the markets! My local farmer's market is nice but certainly doesn't have the same atmosphere. ;)

Joy said...

@Alan, ha ha...I'm just the opposite. Love the city life, but don't mind having a couple days in the countryside to relax and get away. ;)

Joy said...

@Annie, I don't blame you. I'd miss the sea too. The Thames isn't quite the same! ;)

Joy said...

Thanks Sherry! It was fun to reminisce as I looked through these photos.

Julia said...

I've lost count of how many times we've been to Istanbul and would you believe we still never made it to Üsküdar, properly. It's on the itinerary and we will get around to it - dying to have a mooch with camera. :)

Tiffin Fiona said...

What a wonderful post! So evocative of traversing the Bosphorus. I have taken that journey but it was at the end of a very long holiday through the Middle East so all I could think about was getting to my bed in the hotel! We did go back out on the harbour again but no lovely cup of tea available on our trip. I've really only ever lived in Brisbane though we did base ourselves in the UK for 18 months. The thing I miss most about that is the wild food and foraging on offer and, the wonderful National Trust properties. I am back from holidays and am enjoying reading through your contributions. Thanks for joining in.