On our first day of jet lag it seemed like a good idea to take a walking tour. Little did we know that the main feature of the tour was a relaxing boat ride almost the entire length of the Bosphorus, but the scenery was so fabulous, the yawns were few and far between. The Bosphorus is a riverlike channel that connects the Black Sea to the Gulf of Marmara. The Black Sea is fresh water and the Marmara is salty and the two waters flow in layers, providing for a unique ecosystem. One side of the Bosphorus is in Europe and the other in Asia. Thus, one of Istanbul's many claims to fame is that it has a foot in each continent. Politically, Turkey values its unique position and tries to mediate between the interests of the two sides.
Istanbul is a huge, world class city with over sixteen million residents and those who are lucky enough to live on the European side of the Bosphorus appear to be quite wealthy. On the more affordable Asian side the more modest buildings eventually gave way to trees during our trip. Our ultimate destination was a small town near the entrance to the Black Sea which boasted the ruins of a fortification. We joined the parade of panting tourists up the steep, winding hill to the ruins of a fort. The views to the north and south were spectacular. Part way down we ate an assortment of fresh fish, seated on a patio with similar views.
In this town as well as other places we've been in Turkey, cats are everywhere. We saw one steal a fish off a diner's plate at our restaurant. While they do not seem to belong to anyone in particular, they do not seem feral either. They are well fed by tourists and cuddled by us as well and seem to be cats that belong to everyone. Our guide certainly seemed in love with every one he passed.
Back in town we visited a mosque. While they are spectacular buildings they seem to be decorated in a more uniform manner than comparable cathedrals in Europe. Perhaps there are subtleties of decor that we did not discern. When our guide launched into a religious explanation about the mosque interior than began with the year 343AD, Ken's eyes began to roll and it wasn't from jet lag. They may be rolling a bit more before this visit to Turkey is over.