Six months ago today, I arrived in Turkey, jetlagged and excited to begin my current adventure as an expat. Since then, I’ve gotten to know the many hills, museums, and cafes in this city nearly as well as New York. In honor of this anniversary, I chose this photo by Flick user Luke Robinson that says “Istanbul” to me with nary a kebap, bazaar, or minaret in sight. It’s on the Galata Bridge spanning the Golden Horn, where dozens of fishermen stand every day in hopes of catching a fish from the Bosphorus. Some men fish for a living, others fish for pleasure, and you can spot more than a few men wearing suits and leather shoes. Hungry for fish? The bridge’s lower level is packed with fish restaurants serving the catch of the day.
Last year, weary from hostels and trains, I met my mother in Paris. Though we’re not ideal travel partners, she was footing the bill so I couldn’t refuse a stay aboard a houseboat on the Seine River that she had rented. It was impeccable–the summer home of a wealthy businessman and his gorgeous girlfriend–and though boats can be cramped and uncomfortable, this one was amazingly luxurious.
Here’s what’s great about staying on the Seine: Though the boat was permanently moored, the location couldn’t have been better — we were right across from the Tuillerie Gardens. The boat itself was amazing. And we didn’t have to spend too much money on restaurants, since we had our own kitchen. Plus? The look on peoples faces on the tour boats as they motored by us–enjoying wine and good food on the top deck–was pretty priceless.
Here’s what’s not so great about staying on the Seine: Said tour boats cruise the river all freaking night, using flood lights to illuminate the city and loudspeakers to explain what attractions are passing by. And the smell on the river was … um … ripe at times. The were also a group of people who actually lived under the stairwell near the boat, not to mention people fishing in the river constantly (and, if you’ve seen the Seine, you’ll know it is not a fishing river.) We feared the fishers were actually nearby restaurant owners, hence another reason to enjoy having a kitchen.
All in all, it’s a nice stay if you can get it. Though at 2000 EUR for a week, I’d be hostelling it if it wasn’t for mum.