I got to paddle in Istanbul!

-- Last Updated: Sep-09-07 8:49 AM EST --

Sort of a trip report, perhaps of a somewhat unique nature. I'm here in Istanbul, Turkey giving a couple of talks at the European Congress of Pathology meeting (yeah, it's a tough gig, but someone had to do it...). Anyway, just before I left I shot off an email to a Turkish paddling club that I found online (Bodeka.com), and one of their members was nice enough to come pick me up at my hotel this morning and take me paddling on the Bosphorus, from north of the city in Pahcebasce, up to a nice little beach just before the Black Sea meets the Bosphorus. We passed by a couple of gorgeous little waterside villages and a very cool ruined Byzantine fort from around A.D. 800 or so. Tons of huge tankers heading up and down the Bosphorus, lots of smaller fishing vessels. We were just paddling some plastic Prijon Kodiacs, nice boats (although there was some really good chop and I was dying to have my ski to surf some of it!). It's really hilly and green here- reminds me a bit of the Bay Area or Vancouver (but with mosques, palaces, and ancient ruins of every possible type). I've definitely never heard the Muslim call to prayer from a sea kayak before, that's for sure.

Anyway, it was a really unique experience, and I'm very grateful for the hospitality of my Turkish hosts. It's a really cool place, with great food and friendly people. I've crossed from Europe to Asia and back today- pretty interesting to think about. Tomorrow I have to wade into the old city, to see the Hagia Sophia and all of the other de rigeur tourist attractions.


Istanbul or Constantinople?
That’s a song, isn’t it?

Sounds like a great trip. Hope you can post some photos.

And I’m trying to get out to New York! LOL

Love to see pictures if you got them.

no pics yet
will try to post some generic istanbul pictures when i return. no paddling pics, i’m afraid, as my camera isn’t waterproof, and this was all very spur of the moment.

istanbul or constantinople is an interesting question, actually. the pre-Constantine the great settlement was known as Byzantion, for Byzas, an Athenian ex-pat who founded it in 667 BC. Constantine, of course, named it Constantinople, and make it his eastern capital, rather explictly designed to be the Christian capital of the Roman Empire (he had converted to Christianity). After the Ottomans conquered the city in 1453, they actually called it “Konstantiyye”. Exactly where the name “Istanbul” comes from and when it began to be applied to the city is a bit obscure. It is known that in 1930 the Turkish government officially changed the name of the city to Istanbul.


double wow
thanks for the report,more,surprises? What was the water like? Do you speak another language?

teºekkür ederim for posting
The Turks are fantastic people and very trustworthy. Even when arresting me at machine gun point, they were very nice.

Hey Andrew, I Thought of You Today
There was a two man breakaway (road bikes) and I was in the little chase group. The guy in front of me kept pulling and pulling. He finally bridged the gap and I had decided there was no way I was coming around him after he did that monster pull. He yells at me to shoot ahead. He wanted to whip up on the lead guy even if it was me doing the whipping!

Fantastic Andrew
Istanbul is on my list. The history of Istanbul/Constantinople is remarkable. A cross roads of history if ever there was one. Try and get to see the huge underground cistern. I understand it’s near the Hagia Sophia. Take lots of pictures.


The Grand Bazzar
Topkapi Palace, The Blue Mosque, and if there’s time, Make a ferry ride to Karamursel (Other side of the Sea of Marmara) and return…

I’d return if I thought I could go without fear of jail time…in my military days I spent 6 months in jail over a swanctioned snoop and poop inside a Turkish Military base…they don’t like me over there.


This is a link to a site that outlines where I operated from when I was stationed in Turkey…and it also reflects the general timeframe I was there…1 year earlier…

Sinop was the “Black Box” installation, TUSLOG Det 67 was the NATO NUKE storage site for 155 Nuke Shells for Howitzers…

From what I remember those are some of the busiest waterways on the planet. That had to be exciting. Going with local was a good idea… Post pics when you have them.

now that is totally cool… Glad you are finding some “downtime” and it isn’t all work…

Get Down To Bodrum, If You Have a Chance
That’s were the Turks go to the beach, or maybe just north of Izmir. My family lived there when I was very young. My Dad was career army office

even when sodomizing
Laurence of Arabia, they went about it in a nice way, you may recall from the film

you’ve got a date in Constantinople, she’ll be waiting in Istanbul.