Istanbul Imperial Legacy – Sultans, Mosques, and Hidden Stories.

It became a bit of an inside joke in Istanbul when the Movers and Shakers of Sand Hill Road and Silicon Valley passed each other under the dome of the Blue Mosque.  We usually reserved Haig St. Sophia privately for our client families, which is an amazing experience. I lay on the floor and could imagine the hoofbeats of ancient horses galloping through. The President has deemed St Sophia be converted into a Mosque again, the floor is covered in carpet for prayer.

“We arrived by boat at the Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosporus from the airport in Istanbul. Splendid traffic-beating ride and a look at the beautiful city skyline.” Reed Hastings & Patty Quillin 

Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul

The old airport was near the Marina, when all of our clients arrived, I insisted everyone cruise the Bosporus on a yacht charter to the Four Seasons Hotel. After a long 14-hour flight, avoid the traffic plagued streets, our clients were whisked to the marina for a yacht transfer, it is a brilliant memorable arrival! Avoided the traffic, breathe in the fresh air, and savor the skyline from a yacht which I feel every visitor must experience. The skyline is fascinating and stunning!

Istanbul is one of the most ancient cities in the world and the only city on the globe to be situated on two continents, straddling the Bosporus Strait in northwestern Turkey between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea.

All our clients who began with us 18 years ago have visited Istanbul; Americans are visiting again.  A magical destination, Istanbul has a wealth of attractions from architecture, shopping, and delicious healthy dining. An ancient city with an unparalleled cultural heritage, truly a timeless charm. Since my last visit, many new five star hotels have opened in Istanbul. Six Senses is plopped on the upper Bosphorus, Raffles and the Fairmont have planted roots and The Mandarin has established a water side location.

A showcase of ancient culture and Western History.

Follow Me – up the grand Bosporus Strait to berth at the Four Seasons Aqua Restaurant for dinner under an inky black sky.

Highly Recommend!

Travel Survival Skills – Pink or Blue Currency?

Before any Journey departure, I have a long check list of what to do/what to take. Rarely do I arrive to a foreign country without local currency, VIP arrival translates to tipping, begging for unscheduled help translates to a gratuity, ie in Scotland, after 50+ days of travel, I injured my hip- I struggled with carry on bags on the tarmac at small airports – those steep stairs up to a plane in heat or rain were a challenge – local cash is always appreciated. At every airport, my pockets are stuffed with small bills. Traversing three countries with different currency presented its own challenges – memorizing each currency and value.

In Morocco the dizzying 30 day Camel Caravan Two schedule sometimes left me fatigued, my driver and I developed many code phrases for the Journey, we had a code phrase for please, let the guide go, I’m tired; for tipping, it was simple blue or pink – use the Blue currency for your gratuity. It made me slightly dependent, but it relieved me of calculating rates at the end of a strenuous hiking or sightseeing day!

Turkish Lira may prove more daunting – the 5 Lira note equals .30. When I’m on my own and language barriers are challenging, I’ve been known to just open my wallet and let people take the necessary amount, fresh oregano from a farmer provides immense pleasure when I’m home recreating a local dish – I’m sure they have never taken too many pink or blue notes.

A small spice shop in Marrakesh that I frequented would pick out coins in my wallet – currency is mostly manageable, but coins, takes me so long to read the small font, please take the coins! One of my favorite photos of me is on a country lane in France, me with wallet open ‘negotiating’ a bag of walnuts from a local farmer! I’ll never forget the experience!

Please just take the coins!

Memories and Experiences – are what I crave the most in my travel.