October 1, 2016

Edirne, Turkey. June, 2007

Edirne sits at the very western edge of Turkey, right near the borders with Bulgaria and Greece. Here is a look inside the city's "Old Mosque." In Turkey, "old" is relative, but in this case it means early 15th-century. When I walked in, I was greeted by a young man, practicing his English, who welcomed me. Then, taking his leave, he walked up stairs to a pulpit, picked up a microphone, and chanted the verses for this midday moment of prayer (one of five each day) that were broadcast throughout the city.

September 30, 2016

Istanbul. June, 2007

Happy birthday to my friend Nick, seen here playing peek-a-boo at Topkapi Palace.

September 29, 2016

Edirne, Turkey. June, 2007

Less than three hours by bus from Istanbul lies Edirne, the former Adrianople and the country's capital before it was moved to Constantinople. I went there one day to see the famed mosques, to see what Turkey looked like outside Istanbul, to have a scrub and a massage in a real Turkish hamam. On my hike out of the center of town to see that mosque in the distance, I had not gone two blocks before the surroundings turned mighty rural, as you can see here.

September 28, 2016

Edirnekap─▒, Istanbul. June, 2007

A short distance from the city center is the neighborhood of Edirnekap─▒, home to the Chora Church (and its remarkably preserved mosaics) and, right next door, the restaurant Asitane. Graced with a leafy garden, the perfect setting for a lazy June afternoon lunch, Asitane specializes in historic recipes from the records of royal kitchens stretching back over centuries. This little tray of welcoming spreads was just the beginning.

September 27, 2016

Istanbul. June, 2007

Now that's what I call an oven vent. This, one of several in the Sultan's kitchens in Topkapi Palace.

September 26, 2016

Istanbul. June, 2007

Friends in Turkey advise that this might not be the best time to visit their beautiful country. A failed coup. A bloody purge. Fatal bombings...including a recent one on Istanbul's famed mile-long pedestrian street, the Istiklal Caddesi, "Victory Street." This week, some memories from my first visit to the City of the World's Desire, including this "sweets on parade" at Saray, located right in the middle of the Istiklal.

September 25, 2016

Tucson. November, 2006

Not all desert plants are cactus. Some look like this one, thriving in filtered sunlight in my friend David's beautiful backyard garden.