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Pole to Pole

Day 42: Odessa to Istanbul

Michael Palin - Pole to PoleSleep almost ten hours, and wake with a sense that our engines have slowed, if that's possible. Push aside the curtain to see that we are only a few hundred yards from land. We have left the Black Sea and are halfway down the Bosporus, the winding eighteen-mile channel that leads to the Sea of Marmara, the Aegean and eventually the Mediterranean. On deck Roger is contemplating a couple of weeks' recovery time before rejoining us in Egypt. He's in professorial mood. Did I know that Bosporus and Oxford mean the same thing? In Greek legend, a priestess called Io was seeing Zeus, after work as it were, and Zeus, in order to prevent Hera, his wife, from finding out, turned Io into a cow. Hera, not fooled, sent a gadfly after her, causing the tormented Io to seek relief by jumping into the nearest stretch of water. This happened to be just about where we are now and became known as the Bous (ox) poros (ford).

Everything is so different from what we have just left. Minarets and cypress trees stand out from the green hillsides, houses are being built, and many are crowned with satellite dishes. Lines of private cars are weaving their way along crowded coast roads flanked by balconied apartment blocks on one side and white-hulled yachts on the other.
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  • Series: Pole to Pole
  • Day: 42
  • Country/sea: Turkey
  • Place: Istanbul
  • Book page no: 92

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