Our third day in Istanbul was rainy and chilly. Our big plan for the day was to take a ferry cruise up the Bosphorus almost to the Black Sea. But first we scurried into the Underground Cistern, a remnant of the reservoir that supplied the palace complex with water. Repurposed columns support the structure, and in one corner two Medusa heads are used as column bases.
Due to the weather and to being a Monday, the Bosphorus cruise ferry was mostly empty. Armed with our guide books, we braved the chilly outdoor seating for the best views of the mansions which line the Bosphorus, called yalıs, as well as other sights.
The boat’s last stop on the cruise was a village called Anadolu Kavağı. Before we docked there, we had a nice long look at the horizon where the Bosphorus met the Black Sea. The Rick Steves’ book had refreshed our memory on the story of Jason and the Argonauts, and how they were guided by the goddess Athena through the Symplegades (the Clashing Rocks) on their journey to the Black Sea. The moody landscape definitely enhanced our sense that we were looking at a place steeped in mythology.
We had a couple of hours to spend at Anadolu Kavağı before the ferry returned to Istanbul. As we were a very small crowd of passengers, we were soon besieged by restaurant staff eager to get us into their particular cafe. We settled for a restaurant by the water, where we could watch cormorants diving for fish.