Friday, July 5, 2013

BRIDGING ISTANBUL: Exploring by foot the Galata Bridge and Tower and another culture

GALATA BRIDGE, ISTANBUL, TURKEY, JUNE 2013. (photo by Chiboogamoo, aka Tony Martin)
Hallelujah for EXPLORATION! Hallelujah for exploring a city by foot! My Chiboogamoo and I descended from the Sultanahmet, where we had visited the Blue Mosque, Aya Sofya, and Basilica Cistern, in search of the Galata Bridge and for a fish sandwich!
ALONG THE SHORE OF THE SULTANAHMET. Walking along the shore, we found people pushing baby strollers, picnicking on green lawns with samovars, bathers by the water, and lots of fast moving cars. We had yet to come around the curve where we could view the Galata Bridge. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)

CONSTANT TRAFFIC ON THE SEA! The Bosphorus provides another means of transportation for Istanbul. Ships are constantly skimming its surface. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
Our search for a fish sandwich on the left side of the Galata Bridge threw us into the sea of Turkish and international tourists looking for the same thing. We were surprised to learn that the "restaurant" we were looking for consisted of three boats anchored next to the Galata Bridge. The fish was being cooked aboard these rocking vessels and to buy the sandwiches we had to navigate through crowds of fish sandwich eaters lucky enough to find a seat under the awnings. My Chiboogamoo and I decided to sit on stairs in this crowded area to eat our 3 dollar fish sandwiches. Not a bad view--eh?
LEFT OF THE GALATA BRIDGE. For fun, when you are on a trip, talk to other travelers. They will inevitably give you a task to achieve that you would have otherwise never considered. We went in search of this destination because of some Australians we spoke to at breakfast recommended that we do it.  Why not? (photo by Hallelujah Truth)

PURCHASING FISH SANDWICHES.  Yes, that is me asking how much is a fish sandwich. I did not see overhead the price in Turkish liras--6TL! You can see the men cooking in the next boat over, right behind me. (photo by Chiboogamoo)
After finishing our fish sandwiches, our next goal was to walk across the bridge to the other side--the European one--and climb the Galata Tower (we didn't know that we would pay money to take an elevator up to the top). We became fascinated by the restaurants and bars under the bridge!
SHIELDED FROM THE SUN.  The summer sun in Istanbul is daunting. These restaurants are protected with the blue plastic covering until the sun sets. (photo by Chiboogamoo)
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE BRIDGE.  Climbing up the stairs from the other side of the bridge to the same level with the fishermen, we crossed the road and went down another set of stairs to find another row of restaurants and bars. Notice the difference the lack of sun makes. Shade is a much sought after commodity here in Turkey in the summer! (photo by Chiboogamoo)
There were many other tourists doing the same thing we were doing in viewing the sea, the boats, the restaurants and in marveling over the bridge that connects two different parts of Istanbul. Three young men from Egypt asked me if I were Turkish (really?) and my Chiboogamoo and I had a great conversation with them. They were preparing to attend college in Turkey.
ENJOYING THE VIEW. I can always count on my honey to take numerous photos of me so that I can choose my favorite one for my blog. I am taking a good look at the Galata Bridge here. I was also advocating to stop for a cold beverage, but my darling moved me along so could climb the highest hill in Istanbul to access the tower you see immediately below. (photo by Chiboogamoo)
GALATA TOWER. (photo by Chiboogamoo)
The Galata Tower is old, according to the perspective of a person from the United States. It was originally built in 1348 to be the highest point in this area. Like many ancient structures, it has been rebuilt several times (referencing the Lonely Planet). After hiking up the hill from the Galata Bridge and being slightly tired (had we only arrived in Turkey the night before?), I was going to be satisfied sitting in the shade below while Chiboogamoo hiked up the tower. 

However, after investigating matters, he returned to me with a delighted grin on his face. There was an elevator, and we both were going up! So was everyone else in Istanbul. The sun was getting ready to set, and everyone had the same ambition to take really great photos of the Sultanahment in the beguiling shades of pinks and blues at sunset. The terrible tourist traffic jam around the best position to take these photos made this ambition slightly challenging. 

Packed like sardines, we enjoyed our view not moving until a German tourist started alerting everyone to move in one uniform direction. Thank goodness for the qualities that different cultures bring to a situation!
VIEW OF my CHIBOOGAMOO FROM GALATA TOWER. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
DESCENDING FROM GALATA TOWER. Look at the balcony of the Galata Tower and see the tourists on the balcony. I was happy knowing we were moving down the hill this time and taking the tram back to the Sultanahmet! Hurray for public transportation! (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
 That's Coffee with Hallelujah! SOUL BLOG with me and tell me about your ventures on foot in a new place! What did you learn? How did walking make a difference? I love the people I meet! And the unexpected turns!

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