The End of the Line

We’ve come to the end of our time in Istanbul. We head to Budapest tomorrow where we’ll stay for a week before moving on to Paris. I know, I  know — it’s a tough life, but someone’s gotta live it. I’m just extremely grateful it’s me!

I married a sailor man who never passes up an opportunity to see large bodies of water as often as possible. So, to commemorate the end of our stay in this intriguing city, we took a combo of trains and buses northeast yesterday to the end of the line for a final look at the Black Sea.

It was a typical travel day for the Longinos and went something like this…

Leave the apartment at 9:30 a.m. and walk a quarter-mile to the bus stop. Catch the #15 bus to the Marmaray  Station in Üsküdar and hop the under-the-Bosphorus train to Yenakapi, a truly beautiful metro station on the European side of town.

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At Yenakapi, take the M2 train to the end of the line at Haciosman — a metro station so deep it has a five-floor, underground parking deck on top of the station. Once on the surface, make the short walk to the bus terminal and board #152 headed for Kisirkaya on the Black Sea.

Drive in and up rolling hills for 20 or so minutes until you catch a glimpse of the sea from the bus window…

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then, get off at the wrong bus stop in
Gümüşdere because your Turkish dictionary says “marina” is the Turkish word for marina, but the bus driver doesn’t understand you.

Where is the sea and how do you get to it? Try “marina” again on the first couple of people you meet. One sends you in the wrong direction, which you figure out after a quarter-mile. Did I mention it’s raining?

Go back to where the bus dropped you off and follow the road. Remind yourself that you are living the dream. Walk slowly uphill and then down for over a mile until you spot Kirsikaya and signs for Endo Marina, a seaside restaurant calling your name. Walk down a curvy road, followed by a couple of stray dogs, to the sea.
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The surf’s up on the small, deserted stretch of sand and out to sea are several freighters waiting to enter the Bosphorus Strait to make port in Istanbul.

Sigh. You’ve seen the Black Sea from both sides now — Asia and Europe. It was such a small little dot on the map in your world geography class — a big lake in comparison to the mighty Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. But, standing before the Black Sea, you feel the depth and breadth of its power along with renewed respect for the man beside you who loves to ride across big bodies of water like this in a little boat pushed by the wind.

You turn from the sea to enter the restaurant, warmed by a wood-burning stove on this misty, cold day, and settle in for a nice cup of hot tea — chai in Turkish. You sit at a table next to the stove to dry out. You are the only customer at 11:45 a.m. Afterall, not only is the weather less than desirable, it’s Tuesday and most of the locals in this small seaside town are busily working.
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It’s the end of the line…which isn’t really the end, but the beginning. You have to find your way back and, while typically easier than getting there, returning is always its own adventure.

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