Creative Land Use

In a city of fourteen million, every piece of real estate is valuable, and unlike our strict zoning laws, nothing so petty as food or fire safety laws gets in the way of the Turkish entrepreneurial spirit.  A new subway stop is being built just down the street from our hotel and at the moment it is nothing more than a giant excavation, where clearly something far more attractive once existed.  But not to worry, the restaurant owners across the street, simply took the opportunity to create some more open air dining space by hanging some rugs and lamps to block the construction site view- and voila- seating for 30 more….

An even more impressive land use is the Galata bridge which crosses the The Golden Horn, a deep bay in the Sea of Mamara.  It’s name comes from the color of the water at sunset.  This bridge doesn’t just provide a connection for cars and buses to reach the two sides of the city, it is also a prime fishing spot for the locals, and the entire area under the bridge is filled with restaurants taking advantage of the spectacular view of the city’s seven hills adorned with its palaces and magnificent mosques. 

While seating eating in one of these restaurants we watched a lure from a fisherman above nearly catch more than one passer by on the restaurant deck.  That was amusing, but what was really great was watching “fish and loaves” restaurants next to the pier.  These are three elaborately decorated small wooden ships that are used as outdoor kitchens for a standing room only crowd of dinners. 

The customers sit at picnic tables on the pier and the chefs cook the fish and prepare the salad in the kitchen boats which do some serious rolling from the wakes of the big ferry boats.  We’re not talking about a  little dip, we’re talking about 5 & 6 foot swells, but it seems to have no effect on the grillmasters who just man the barbeques.  Yelling orders and handing finished orders over across the open water - Turkish style fast food goes on without a hitch – giant pieces loaves of bread filled to the brim with lettuce & freshly fried fish from the rolling kitchen.  Smelled wonderful…