As we saw more of Istanbul yesterday, the wind was tremendous. As we scaled the walls of an old Byzantine port, we were almost blown off the walls — which had no railing to prevent a 10 meter fall — by strong gusts of wind. In the evening, we walked along the shore of the Marmara Sea, which divides Europe from Asia, and the Bosphorus, the narrow waterway that connects the Marmara to the Black Sea.
This morning, as we ate our breakfast of bread, honey, eggs, olives, fruit, and tea on the the enclosed terrace of our hotel, we looked out over the Bosphorus and noticed that it was empty, whereas yesterday it was full of tankers, cargo ships, ferries and all other sorts of boats. It appears an accident yesterday shut the vital waterway:
ISTANBUL, March 13 (Xinhuanet) — Turkish officials Sunday expressed their concerns over the sinking of a liquefied petroleumgas (LPG) cargo ship.
A roll-on-roll-off ship carrying 138 tons of LPG sank Saturday in the Bosphorus Strait, a waterway linking the Black and Marmara seas, due to bad weather. Turkish authorities closed the Bosphorus shipping channel on Sunday to all traffic, and maritime officials took several hours to find several LPG tanks. However, two of them were still posing a risk. [Abridged]
This may slightly alter our plans — today, we are planning on either taking a night bus to the ancient Greek and Roman city of Pergamum, or taking a ferry across the Sea of Marmara to present-day Nicaea. We’ll finalize our plans once Dr. Alfred Russel Wallace and I meet with the the third member of our party, who should be waiting for us in front of the Blue Mosque in 30 minutes.
More to come from Asia Minor…