The pile on board. The red leather seats patched with tape. The uplift of wash as the chugging Clydeside engines, 50 years after they were built, pull you away from (in old money) Asia Minor.
Listen to the cries of white coated waiters cry, "Chi! Chi! Chi!". Buy a tea for God's sake! It's their living! Add plenty of sugar. Buy a Simit; Sesame seeded bread. If it's cold, purchase a salep with cinnamon on top. It has the look and consistency of...eh...but tastes GRRREEEAATTT!
And then, the best bit.
Watch the European side hove into view. Aya Sofia, The Mahvi Cami, the bustle of old Istanbul. And if you can be bothered, do it as the sun rises. From Asia to Europe. The finest commute. Ever.
No matter how little time you have for visiting Istanbul, you have to take a boat trip along the Bosphorus. All boats zigzag the Bosporus stopping alternately at a European and an Asian port. The best time to take the boat is on a warm summer’s evening so that you get to see the sunset and, if lucky, full moon over the city.
There is a public service ferry that does the full length or privately run boats that also offer shorter routes
When you arrive at the airport you have the option of taking a bus, water taxi or an "Alilaguna" boat to Venice. (Alilaguna is the name of the operator.) Especially if you have never been to Venice before, this is a magical way catch your first glimpse of it, unless you are happy and able to pay around £50 for a water taxi. The boat goes round the islands, finally stopping at the Arsenale and San Marco.
Quieter than tuk-tuks, more breezy than using the buses, cheap as chips, better sights and smells and much more in tune with what the locals do.
There are stops all the way up and down the river, they come about every five or six minutes most days
First off, get a decent map. The bus map, available for 50 baht from Asia Books, is a good one. Next, head to the river and take a Chao Phraya river boat, either up to Nonthaburi, or down to the Skytrain station. Relaxing and cheap, with good scenery.
On the tip of Cape Cod, this is where the Pilgrims from the Mayflower signed the Compact, agreeing to settle. A nice boat journey from Boston harbour is followed by a wander around the historic town.
The Whale Watch Company is run by a Maori sub-tribe and they have won many awards. It is not only phenomenal to see the whales in their natural envionment, but it is also hugely educational.
I saw lots of sperm whales, some killer whales and an albatross...and you are given plenty of time to observe the creatures.
Be warned though - if the weather is not right, the boats don't go out. It's safety first.
Railway Station Road, Kaikoura
A canal tour is perhaps a bit touristy, but I enjoy them despite living in the Netherlands. A one-hour trip is a nice way to see a few sights when you are tired of walking.
In the summer I prefer to rent a paddleboat with a friend. There is a rental place near Rijksmuseum. It is not as warm on the canals and you can go at your own pace.
This is Berlin's one and only hostelboat, which means you can actually stay overnight on a boat on the River Spree for reasonable and have superb views over the river. I recommend it because it is something different, but apart from this, it's a very cosy place with very helpful people. Rooms are nice and have all attached bath. It is next to what's left of the wall and in general a cool place.
You can get off one of the main station, which is Ostbahnhof and walk along the wall, which enables you to admire the numerous murals, or you can get off the tube stations Warschauerstrasse or Schlesische Strasse, which are a bit closer;
A must see - you can book a whole package involving the floating islands and Taquile, a forlorn island in Lake Titicaca from where you have a fantastic view over the peaceful lake!
You will be welcomed by Maria, one of the tourist guides. Ask her about the island, she is a lovely Indian teacher and very communicative.
From Puno you go by motor boat.
GO, it's wonderful!! Fly to Kochi or Trivandrum - both are great to visit anyway, especially the fascinating town of Kochi. But best of all, take a journey by boat through the backwaters and drop in on village life. It's magical. And you'll never get better food!
The highlight of this trip is travelling on a wooden river boat through a reed filled waterway where loggerhead turtles live. You may or may not spot one in the water. Also on view are ancient rock tombs of the Lycian age at Kaunos. These resemble small temples carved out of sheer rock which housed the nobility and their belongings after death to await reincarnation. The lower orders were buried in less impressive surroundings below them.
Also worth doing - taking a mud bath, followed by a shower and a dip in a thermal bath afterwards.
And finally by boat again to Iztuzu or 'Turtle' beach, a beautiful expanse of white sand. You can dive into the Mediterranean on one side of the beach and swim in fresh water on the other. The beach is closed to public access at night to allow the turtles to breed there.
You can get there easily from the bigger centres such as Marmaris or Fethiye on an organised trip or from Dalyan itself. Most agencies offer it.
Take the Bosphorus Steamer's ticket to see breathtaking views of the Bosphorous, where two continents cross. You’ll also see wooden houses on the waterfront, historic palaces and two fortresses. The passenger boats looks like Italian vaporettas. Ferry ticket are five euro for a return, and the ferry leaves at 10 in the morning from Sirkeci. Trips take around two hours.
Sirkeci Vapur Iskelesi across Yeni Cami
This is a glorious mixture of woodlands, craggy cliffs and ravines that cut through the river Krka which runs from Knin, a formerly war-torn town on the borders of Bosnia-Herzegovina, to the Adriatic coast just a few miles north of Sibenik.
The best way to explore it is by boat and there are several firms which offer such trips. Starting at an extraordinary site reminiscent of a water-crossing in a Clint Eastwood western (it is actually used for filming westerns!), I traveled through a dramatic gorge which opened out on to a sparkling blue lake in the midst of which was a solitary island containing a Fransican monastery. Apparently, all the aspiring monks have to survive here for 12 months before being accepted for further training.
After a 45 minute break and a visit to the monastery museum, our day cruise continued down to the breathtaking waterfalls of Skradinski Buk, where we spent two glorious hours wandering over specially built wooden walkways above the countless streams rushing down to merge in a lake some 40 metres below. An unforgettable day.
A visit to London must surely include a boat trip on the Thames. Reasonably priced and interesting for everyone. I would recommend doing this early on during your trip because from the river, you can get your bearings and identify historical sites like the Tower of London that you may wish to add to your list of places to visit on land.
A three-hour trip to whale watch on a high speed boat - less time spent travelling to the site and more time viewing. In truth, the best thing I've ever done - really moving to be so close - don't miss it.
A felucca is an Arab form of sailing boat. If you can't spare the time to sail down the Nile from somewhere upriver, just take an hour or so to relax while sailing up and down in the downtown area. Cairo from the water is surprisingly quiet.
There are several small jetties along the river bank.
Seven traghetto (ferry) points between the railway station and San Marco allow you to cross the Grand Canal without having to squeeze over the bridges. These decommissioned gondolas ply back and forth until dusk for 60c a trip. Venetians make the crossing standing up. Tourists sit down and worry about the rocking motion.
Look out for small yellow signs pointing down alleys leading to the Canal.
Most people who visit Amsterdam see the canals but do not know that all these canals end up in the IJ, a large river that runs behind the central station.
For a different view of Amsterdam, walk out the back of the central station to the ferries. Take the one of the boats labelled Amsterdam North (free) and you will end up in the northern part of the city. Take the footpath to the right and after five minutes you'll see a bar/restaurant called the Wilhelminadok. From here there’s a fantastic view of the old city and when it's sunny you can sit on a huge terrace floating on the water.
Alternatively you can go out the back of the central station and to the right (along the waterfront) for about 10 minutes until you reach the new concert hall, Muziekgebouw aan het IJ, which also has a fantastic view of the city and the river.
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