Sweet Tea, No Lemon

The way it's supposed to be.

Istanbul July 2012


To celebrate our twentieth wedding anniversary, my wife Jan and I wanted to travel somewhere exotic and far away. We settled on Istanbul, Turkey, and booked our trip immediately. Despite our impulsive decision, the choice proved to be an excellent one. Of all the places that I have traveled, no destination has delivered an experience like Istanbul. Our week in the city was everything you hope for in travel.

Istanbul has been known by many names, the most famous being Byzantium, the center of the Byzantine empire, and Constantinople, the center of Christendom until the Ottomans conquered the city in 1453. The layers of history and intrigue seem tangible to the senses as you arrive in Istanbul. The Islamic call to prayer is heard five times each day, broadcast from the minarets of the innumerable mosques in the city. The call serves as a repeated reminder of the exotic locale.

During one of our evening meals, I recorded the final call to prayer of the night. At the time, we were near two of the most famous structures in Istanbul, the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. What you will hear in the recording is an alternating call to prayer, originating from each of the two mosques.

Click the play button to hear the recording.

Call to prayer, duelling muezzins, Istanbul, July 2012

While the audio plays, click the first image below to start the photo gallery. Navigate through the photos with the mouse or keyboard arrows.




  1. Incredible detail. A wonderful account of your trip.

    How much was a beautiful rug? How big is it? How did you get it home?

    You clearly enjoyed your once in a lifetime trip.

    I thoroughly enjoyed your piece. Very well done.

    • The rug is approximately 7′ x 5′.
      It cost more than the leather sofa
      it sits in front of! Almost $3000, shipped.
      At least we didn’t spring for the silk ones!
      Think prices that start in the $20k range
      And go way up from there!

  2. Great pictures! Did the food taste as good as it looks? It’s amazing how they cooked the fish.
    Thanks for sharing

  3. Mhhh, sounds nice!

    I have been traveling around as well quite a bit.

    For your next holiday, try Cape Town in South Africa. From my point of view, the absolut most beautiful city there is!


  4. We’ve not been to Istanbul yet but plan to visit soon. Do you have a favorite dish, drink, or site that you’d recommend?

    • This city definitely belongs on your “visit soon” list. You’ll love it!
      Favorite dish is tough to decide, because there was so much good food. The Turkish döner kebab is an excellent choice similar to a Greek gyro. The area is famous for the dessert baklava. Many restaurants will bring out a traditional tray of various “mezes”, or appetizers to choose from. The look-and-pick approach was lots of fun.

      For drinks, the traditional raki is served in an interesting way. I wasn’t much of a fan as it is an anise-flavored liquor, like licorice. The local beer is a pilsner called Efes, and it is truly excellent.

      You’ll have plenty of sites to choose from, and you really can’t go wrong. The one place we did not visit and I wish we had was the Basilica Cistern.

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