The View from a Drawbridge

The random musings of a bridgetender with entirely too much time on her hands.

Anytime I’m visiting a city that’s on the water, I make an effort to take advantage of their ferries and water taxis. Since these modes of transport are often used by the locals, they are usually reasonably priced. In addition, the face of a city that is gazing upon the river, canal, lake, or ocean is often its best side, and gives you a perspective you wouldn’t have otherwise. It also gives you an opportunity to rest your weary feet while still sightseeing.

Recently, I visited Vancouver and enjoyed riding on the False Creek Ferries. You can get a 16 dollar day pass and ride to 9 different stops along the shore as many times as you like. They share 8 of those stops with a competitor named Aquabus.

False Creek Vancouver

But upon reflection, I’ve done this type of thing many times throughout the years. Here are some other trips I’ve taken.

In Istanbul, I took a ferry across the Bosporus from Europe to Asia and back. You get some amazing palace views that way. I also took a car ferry from Selçuk to Istanbul and that was kind of a cultural crossroads experience.

Also while in Turkey, I took a boat from the city of Side to Manavgat Falls. It was a lovely, lazy trip on an old teak vessel equipped with hammocks. The water was so turquoise (a color description that originated in Turkey) that it almost made my eyes hurt.

From Side to Manavgat Falls in Turkey

If you ever visit Toronto, Canada, I highly recommend the Central Island Ferry. It gives you some unforgettable views of the city from Lake Ontario. And Central Island is a delight.


One of the first boat trips I took out here was from Edmonds to historic Port Townsend, Washington. What a gorgeous town from the water and on dry land. Highly recommended.

Port Townsend

I’ve also been to Vashon Island, Washington a few times now. What a treat!

Vashon Island Ferry

If you ever get a chance to go to Venice, Italy, and don’t get out on the water somehow, if only by Water taxi, then you haven’t done it right. But I really recommend that you spring for a gondola ride. It’s the trip of a lifetime.

Gondola Venice.JPG

To get to Venice in the first place, I took a ferry from Piran, Slovenia, across the Adriatic Sea. That was an amazing trip.

Venice from the Ferry.JPG

I’ve also cruised down Rhine River in Germany, and gazed at the many castles along the way. But that trip was so long ago that my photos, alas, aren’t digital, and I’ll probably never get around to scanning them.

I was thrilled to discover that you can take a ferry down the entire coast of Croatia for next to nothing. I actually felt guilty. At the time, it was less than 5 dollars. I hope they’ve wised up since then.

Croatian Ferry

And I took a hydrofoil from Fethiye, Turkey to Rhodes, Greece. That was amazing. (The tiny boat next to the two large cruise ships was our hydrofoil. And that’s me standing in the water.)

Hydrofoil at Rhodes

If you want to see the very best of Seattle on an amazing vessel, I highly recommend that you charter the Mallory Todd, through the Seattle Locks. Check out my post about that here.

Mallory Todd Through the Locks

And what better way to experience the Mississippi River than to ride on paddle boat from Hannibal, Missouri, hometown of Mark Twain?

Hannibal Missouri

I also recommend checking out the canals in Utrecht and Amsterdam, Holland. There’s nothing quite like that.


Any city on the water should be experienced on the water. You’ll be glad you did.


Cultivate an attitude of gratitude! Read my book!


2 thoughts on “Cities from the Water

  1. Angiportus Librarysaver says:

    Yow, what happened to that building in the first image? Seriously, glad you saw all those neat things. Look up sometime how the Bosporus got to be there in the 1st place, and there’s a story.

    1. Yeah it is. That building is fairly new in Vancouver, and fascinating. From some angles it appears perfectly straight, but it’s not your grandfather’s tall rectangular box, for sure.

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