A recurring dream led me to Istanbul, Turkey. In the dream I am awaken by the haunting wail of the Muslim call to prayer. I am lying in a four-poster bed in a room with tall ceilings. The curtains covering french doors leading to a balcony are glowing softly from the muted first light of day. Through slightly open balcony doors, the sounds of a city coming to life drifts in. I get out of bed and walk to the french doors. Swinging them open and stepping out onto the balcony, I find myself in an ancient city; narrow cobblestone streets, street-level shop owners preparing for the day, deliveries being made in pushcarts, a few pedestrians (some in Muslim coverings) are about. I look up and over the buildings across the street and see the minarets of the mosque broadcasting the call to prayer. The morning air is humid and carries the aroma of the ocean.
I decided to try to locate a city that could match the one in my dreams. From the many possibilities in the Muslim world, I chose Istanbul, Turkey. Next was arranging airline itineraries and researching the myriad of housing possibilities for a room in the historic Sultanahmet district overlooking the street with a balcony. I got pretty close. The trip was magical. The next few posts will be from that trip. Enjoy!