Istanbul 3, Turkey – April 2014

February 25, 2016

Problems!! Perhaps not critical or life threatening, but the convenience of having hot water without having to start the engine was addictive. When our 14-year-old Espar D5 Hydronic fluid heater, which could also preheat the engine on cold mornings and serve as a backup heater for the camper, started to have trouble firing up back in Greece, we were concerned. Being the international company that Espar is, they had a fully staffed service center in Istanbul and the manager even spoke English. His email that read: “No Problem. We have all service parts for your D5 Hydronic.” was a relief, knowing there were passes over 14,000 feet in route across Tajikistan followed by a 4,000 mile drive across Siberia in the winter.

Only in Istanbul would a 400-year old mosque be called "New".

During our evening cruise both the Galata Bridge and the New Mosque were basking in the afternoon light. Only in Istanbul would a 400-year old mosque be called “New”.

Their complete service center opened the doors to us, told us we could safely park in the guarded compound in front of the shop while repairs were made, and even insisted on inviting us for lunch. Given the age of our Espar, the easy fix was to replace the unit with the latest model and add the new altitude compensation kit in the process. We took a hot shower to celebrate.

Returning to our campsite just around the corner from the entrance to the Golden Horn, we couldn’t help but notice the parade of cargo and oil tanker ships coming and going from the Black Sea. Looking at the map, the Bosporus is a natural strait and an internationally significant waterway that forms part of the continental boundary between Europe and Asia and separates Asian Turkey from European Turkey. Like many cities on major rivers, lakes or oceans, it’s always interesting to see them from the water, so a sunset cruise was in order.

Pulling out from the docks just a couple blocks from our home base, the captain turned left up the Golden Horn, also known by its modern Turkish name as Haliç, a major urban waterway and the primary inlet of the Bosporus. This gave us the wonderful opportunity to see the famous Galata Bridge that I recalled walking over back in 1969 when it still floated on pontoons. The crowds of fishermen were still dangling their lines over the edge to catch the ebbing tide while others just below them sipped a cold beer and munched fresh-baked simits (sesame-encrusted bread rings) or smoked their apple-scented argils, (Turkish water pipes), in the restaurants and cafés. What an amazing backdrop with the Galata Tower on one side and the 400-year old New Mosque on the other basking in the afternoon light.

What a crazy artsy photo of the Bosporus Bridge!

Couldn’t resist to share this crazy photo of the Bosporus Bridge!

As the sun crept lower we motored back up into the Bosporus, passing by the Rumelian Castle that is situated at the narrowest point of the busy strait. With the help of thousands of masons and workers, the fortress was completed in a record time of 4 months and 16 days in 1452. On our return home, the spectacular Bosporus Bridge connecting Europe and Asia gave us an amazing light show!! What a magical city!

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