Are you sure we can get through there, it doesn’t look like a road to me
I lost count of how many times Phil asked me that question while we were walking around the Galata neighbourhood of Istanbul.
Dating back to at least the third century, Galata was called Pera by the Greeks and was a colony for the Republic of Genoa for nearly two hundred years. Nestled in the Beyoglu district between the two most well known areas of Istanbul; Sultanahmet and Taksim, Galata’s more modern name is Karakoy.
Brew Lab seemed like the ideal place to fuel up ready for our stroll, a fabulous independent coffee shop with amazing latte art. We made our way towards “French Street” an impressively steep set of stairs with charming patio cafes on either side. Which seemed perfectly pleasant but didn’t particularly make me think of France.
From there we walked from one beautiful street to another, cutting left and right into narrow alleyways and climbing up hills that were so steep, at one point I could have sworn we were actually climbing vertically.
Hot, sweaty and struggling to recover from that last hill, we popped out exactly where my map said we would (tell me again how women can’t read maps) right onto Istiklal (Independence) Avenue. Dating back to the middle ages; beautiful buildings from the Ottoman era line both sides of the street, while the music shops, book stores and art galleries give it something of a bohemian feel.
We continued our walk passing tourists and locals, protesters and buskers, pausing every now and then to pop into gift shops that sold a wonderful mix of the tacky and fabulous. Before we knew it, we turned a corner and there she was. Built out of stone in 1348, the Galata Tower offers truly stunning views out over Istanbul from the observation deck and serves rather tasty cake as well.
Once we’d finished snapping away, we continued our stroll over to the Galata Bridge. Even though I had seen countless pictures and videos of the bridge, I still wasn’t prepared for those stunning views, or just how many buckets of fish I’d be stepping over.
But what do you think would happen if I just threw the fish back into the water?
The lower level of the Galata Bridge is full of restaurants, mainly selling seafood, so we didn’t check any out. I was upset enough about all the buckets of dying or dead fish up top. We agreed throwing the fish back in, would probably get me into quite a lot of trouble, so I decided to skip it this time 🙂
This bridge (the fifth so far) was built in 1994, crosses the Golden Horn at the mouth of the waterway, making it a piece of cake to get from Galata to Eminonu (a wonderful place to watch boats and people from) and then onto Sultanahmet. You can even catch a tram, if you don’t feel like walking.
This was a truly wonderful way to spend an afternoon. If I was doing it again, I’d start off in the morning and then jump on a Bosphorus Cruise from Eminonu in the afternoon.