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My Favourite place, The Bosphorus Strait

“Into the City”, the Greek origins of the word for Istanbul. It needs no further explanation. It is the most populated city in Europe, and I find it easy to lose my head here. Fully submerged amongst over fifteen million people. A history and culture, so decorated. It’s not that I want to escape it, but the sky is getting smaller. I want the sky to expand beyond the buildings, to see the horizon once again.

I make my way to the Karaköy Pier, for I know that is where I can find some space, some air, and some peace of mind. Sometimes I feel that jetlag of travelling between continents when all is separating us is the river. The Bosphorus Strait separates Asia from Europe. I can’t help but become fully submerged in the transcontinental city, and I leave no time for my own thoughts. I board the ferry and already I can see the river end to end, almost. At one end the Black sea, and the other the Med. I love to sit facing backwards so I can watch the Galata Tower, imagining it being built by the Genoese traders in the 1340s. The same Genoese traders that had been crossing the river for centuries built some of the icons along this bank. Neo-classical baroque houses, built for Sultans in the early 19th century, just next to them.

I can unscrew my frown and enjoy the feeling of being on the river. The wind on my face; the boat bobbing up and down gently, like a cradle. It’s a place where I come to think straight, on the Strait. It seems to be that in order to escape the busiest city in Europe, you have to enter into the centre of it. That’s where I am now and seeing all of this architecture inspires me. I don’t wish to look at my phone or check my emails. Instead I enjoy the view and the peace. Sometimes the Ferry is busy with commuters and tourists, but they don’t bother me here. After all, it is the most common mode of transport in Istanbul and I wouldn’t change that for anything. Everyone should get a chance to enjoy this.

I think about the amount of people who have passed through this city, and once again I miss it. Getting off of the ferry I feel a sense of relief that I can continue with my day. But I long, once again, for that quiet time that I got just travelling for 20 minutes on the river.

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Text by @abelsloane1934 | Photography by @ahmetunver