As is the case with the famous punts in Cambridge, being pestered by a windswept man in a waistcoat holding a clipboard adorned with an illustration of a cartoon boat following a dotted line around a river is somewhat inevitable when visiting a tourism destination in proximity to water. For the first day we politely declined the waving clipboards and Turkish words of persuasion. But by the second day we had come around to the idea and thought it a good way of seeing a lot of the city in one go without the need for testing our Turkish language skills on puzzled taxi drivers or losing our way.
Our ferry’s route took us up the European side of the Bosphorus and then into Asian waters for our return back to the port. From the ferry we saw busy water-front squares where children with fishing lines dangled their legs over the banks whilst people drank coffees on small tables and chairs. Behind these sweet scenes were rolling hills…a scattering of tiled rooftops poking their way through the trees. For architectural and engineering buffs, the views of the bridges which punctuate this stretch of water are second to none.
After a brief moment of marvelling at the bridges and having tried our best to spot all of the places from James’ childhood in Istanbul my lens turned to the birds. Trailing our ferry in disappointment at the lack of culinary offering they put on quite a display.
But despite their best efforts, even the Topgun-worthy seagull fly-by was trumped by the blood orange sunset on our return. Oranges, pinks and reds seeped and bled down towards the horizon behind a sky-line of minarets and the swollen dome-shaped roofs. And the best place to see it? From the water of course.