I can easily say that this was my favorite part of the tour, one of my favorite parts of the whole trip, in fact.
From the café, we all climbed onto a very nice boat and road through the choppy, dark waters of the Bosphorus. It was a little cloudy, but the air was cool and fresh and our guide talked during the trip about all the yalis built along the coastline on both the Europe and Asian sides. These mansions were a big deal back in the day, during the Ottoman rule they were popular summer homes for the wealthy. During the 1930s they began tearing them down to make room for apartment buildings, but a few remain, still owned by the extremely wealthy. If I remember correctly, the remaining yalis are protected by the government because of their cultural significance. You can take a tour of one of them, the oldest still standing, but we couldn’t fit it into this trip. If I go back, that is on my to-do list for sure.
I took tons of pictures, of course. I had read a lot about the yalis and it was really exciting to see them in real life. They are mostly made of wood and were difficult to heat in the winter time due to the cold winds blowing in from the water. Many have been renovated today with modern luxuries like one Trevor told us about owned by some famous wealthy family in Turkey that had a pool put in with a glass wall between it and the Bosphorus. They look really nice.
We docked on the Asian side in a little town called Kanlica. It is known for its special yogurt, a recipe this town has been making for hundreds of years that is not replicated anywhere else in the world. We headed into a little café not far from where we docked and sat at a table overlooking the water. It was lovely, picturesque. Servers brought out little plastic tubs of yogurt for each of us. There was a thin film of honey at the top and bowls of powdered sugar on the tables to heap into the tubs when the honey ran out.
This yogurt was heavenly. It has no preservatives, no processing, made fresh every morning and served at restaurants and cafés same day. I never tasted anything like it. It is creamy and sweet with a little bit of a rough texture, but it was a melt-in-your-mouth sort of texture. The honey and especially the powdered sugar complemented it perfectly. I would have gladly eaten many more of those little tubs of yogurt if I could have.