Crossing the Straits

Some twenty kilometres to the east of Taksim square, the ruins of a castle stand atop of a cliff. It’s name is Yoros castle. And even here, at the edge of the Bosphorus and at the brink of the Black Sea, Istanbul’s skyline dominates the horizon. In the past, a chain connected both shores, the occidental and the oriental one. It prevented hostile warships from crossing the straits. Today, huge freighters pass the narrow gap, bringing goods to or from Russia, the Ukraine, Romania and Georgia. But below the fortified bluff, another structure connecting the continents is disturbing the peace. The Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge will be almost two kilometres long when it’s finished in 2015. So far, it apparently provoked anger due to the massive amount of trees chopped down for its construction. A huge urbanisation is expected in this area, stretching the already endless outskirts of Istanbul even further to the north-east.

So far, little is to see of the project. In front, two vessels leave into the great blue open.

So far, little is to see of the project. In front, two vessels leave into the great blue open.

We, that’s my flatmates, a few friends and I, had a boat trip around the Bosphorus, including a stay on Yoros castle (which has pretty interesting history by the way, you might want to read up on wikipedia – also, they had an excavation up there while I was around). The weather was hot, the climbing of the hill sweatening, and the picnic on top filling. Our fairly international group was pretty soaked afterwards. But, in my opinion, it was worth it! The view over the surprisingly vast straits is pretty amazing, in either direction. But not only the stay, also the trip was fairly interesting. Istanbul is endless. After every hill on the sides of the Bosphorus, you expect it to finally be over. But no, there’re even more houses on the steep mountainsides, and even more resting spots on the water front. And of course, the huge flags! From every spot in Istanbul, you can see at least one flag that looks small on the distance, but probably has the size of a house.

What else? Yeah, I walked around in Kadiköy with Ayla (single; twelve camels or best offer), had awesome cheap lunch and getting friends with an internet café owner thanks to her. I like Kadiköy more and more, especially because after several attempts of getting lost (failed), I think I’m actually able to find what I’m looking for. Years of deliberatly showing up in cities I’ve never been to and find my way on my own finally pays out.

Today, I went to Bulgaria to see my friend Elena. More on that tomorrow!

In the background, you see the skyline of Istanubl. It seems small on the foto - it isn't. In front, you see a handsome but sweaty German.

In the background, you see the skyline of Istanubl. It seems small on the foto – it isn’t. In front, you see a handsome but sweaty German.

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