A narrow body of water that connects the Sea of Marmara with the Black Sea, the Bosphorus divides Istanbul in two and it’s this barrier, this incision across the city that splits Asia from Europe. The Bosphorus oozes intensity. It’s a powerful convergence of humanity and nature, history and landscape, and it lies at the very centre of the city. This is what the ferries cross. Making the journey across this body of water is incredible and for me, it’s the highlight of the city and it lies at the very centre of everything. The low sounds of the diesel engines of the ferry throb beneath the deck. As one heads out of the port of Kadakoy and leaves Asia behind, to the left one looks south, out across the Sea of Marmara and towards the Mediterranean. On the horizon a mass of small dots can be seen against the distant tower blocks of the northern side of the city that continues as far as the eye can see. These are the oil tankers waiting their turn to make the journey up the Bosphorus and into the Black Sea. To the right, one looks up the Straits towards the huge suspension bridge that connects the two land masses. As the ferry powers its way through the water, the engines throbbing beneath the deck, the wind sweeping across your face, you can’t help but think of the history of this city, of humanity and the very concept of time. It’s a journey between two continents, two huge landmasses with their own people, cultures, religions, and histories. It’s a moment that transcends time. The water is black and inky, almost thick with history of that relationship between nature and humanity. There is a persistent roar of the ship engine as it pits itself against the sea, waves, and wind. Behind us is a continuous stream of ferries following our path, carrying yet more people. And we pass yet more ferries travelling the opposite journey, from Europe to Asia. The water of the Bosphorus is a constant force. It oozes energy and movement and it’s the beating heart of this incredible city. The ferries thread their way between the huge oil tankers that are chugging their way up the straits, heading for the Black Sea and the oil ports in Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, and other far off exotic places. The tall, piercing minarets of Haggia Sofia and the Sultan Ahmed Mosque cut an impressive, almost ominous shape against the sky, a wash of orange, yellow, pink and purple.
- love creating and baking Italian bread. This is a simple focaccia that uses lots of olive oil, and a little rosemary and salt. Go to Altamura in Southern Italy for the best focaccia you’ve ever tasted. Don’t expect the recipe though!