On Location: Istanbul

The chaotic heartbeat of Istanbul was unmistakable. As we wandered from stall to stall, merchant to merchant, in the narrow alleyways around the Spice Bazaar, the age-old commerce that has been a central theme to this great city was evident all around us. Istanbul’s prime location at the border between Europe and Asia, and on the Bosphorus Strait between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, secured its fate long ago as a crossroads for culture, religion, and trade. Now, in the 21st-century, although much has changed throughout its history, so much of Istanbul remains the same.

Shortly before sunset, we found ourselves gathered on the Clipper Odyssey’s outer decks as she plied the narrow strait north towards the Black Sea. The sun’s low angle light illuminated the domes and minarets of the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia, grandiosely perched above the Golden Horn in the old part of the city. As we passed beneath bridges decorated with an ever-changing show of lights, we watched the myriad of ships, ranging from small yachts to huge tankers, that use this greatest of maritime superhighways.