What’s next?

imagesOver the last couple of years I have met with many women who are my age and are thinking about a new career.  The good news is that these women want to do something meaningful that is not in the non-profit arena.  I am not dismissing the importance of philanthropic work but for some reason women tend to gravitate towards that vs the profit world once they start to make career changes.  They want to sit on those boards and make a difference.  I believe there are other ways to make a difference.

I have told this story several times but not in writing.  Years ago I spoke at an event for about 100 women. Most of these women came out of the banking and legal arena.  Afterwards two women came up and said “we want to do what you are doing.”  They followed up and we got together to talk.  They had both been financially successful in their own right and were looking to put their capital to work by angel investing.  This was music to my ears.

I talked to them about two deals I had currently committed to and still needed capital.  They were concerned that they did not know anything about the business.  I started to ask them questions. Ends up that when you are our age that you know a lot more than you realize.  Experience is worth a lot.  They got excited and started to ask a million questions from what is a note and how does it work to what percentage would they own of the business.  Once they started to wrap their arms around what it meant to invest in a start-up at the early stages they began to hem and haw.

Hem and hawing is understood.  When will we make our money back, will we make our money back, what kind of returns will we really get, etc., etc.  I finally said to them, “how much money did you spend on your holiday vacation this year”?  That was the “aha” moment.  The amount of money they were putting into these two companies in total was probably a bit less than what they have spent on their vacations.  I followed up with you are making an impact in a women entrepreneurs business.  You will help her grow her business.  You will learn about the start-up world.  Most important you will feel empowered that you were able to do this.  You will be making a difference.

They both pulled the trigger and have done almost a dozen deals with me since.  They now they have a whole crew of women who also want to do what they are doing.  I am going to put together a breakfast this fall and invite them all.  I want each of them to understand the process.  What they are investing in and why.  How they should think about it.  I don’t want to be responsible for their dollars or decisions.  I want each of them to feel empowered to do their own investing.  This is going to be fun.


Fear, reality and the imposter syndrome

imgres-2David Noel interviewed me at Soundcloud when I was in Berlin for an event that they put on called #Role Models.  I was excited to be asked.  The house was packed and about 70% of the people there were women.

After David and I spoke for awhile he opened it up to questions.  One woman asked me a question about fear.  How do you deal with fear?  Fear is a very powerful feeling.  It can come out of nowhere.  I can be connected to so many things.  Fear of heights, fear of amusement park rides, fear of failure, fear of commitment.  The list is endless.

It was a simple question and a great question.  I paused to think about it.  My first thought is what is she afraid of.  My answer was simple.  The only person that knows that you have fear is yourself.  You have to figure out that issue but when you go into the world do not show your fear.  Show strength.  It might take a lot to muster that up but that fear is your own making.  It is in your own head.  To not think that everyone else around you who is faking it until they make it doesn’t have fear you are kidding yourself.  Take that deep breath when you enter the room and when you leave it. When you go out and talk to the world keep that fear in check and overtime you realize that you had nothing to fear.  It was just your own baggage.

Fast forward to the next day I spoke at another event, this time women only, at the American Embassy in Berlin.  Someone brought up the imposter syndrome.  Something that many women have.  Imposter syndrome is described as something where people have feelings of inadequacy although the opposite is usually true.  There is this internal fear that they will be discovered that they actually know nothing and are not worthy of being in the job, the conversation or whatever it is.  It is a lot like fear.

I ended up having this very long conversation with my son about insecurities.  I told him that in many ways I have finally come into myself without feeling the imposter syndrome.  I have had that imposter syndrome for a very long time.  He refers to me as a rock so he couldn’t believe that I felt that way.  As he puts it, I am killing it right now.

I explained to him, just like I said to the woman at Soundcloud, what you see is not always what someone feels inside.  The key is figuring out that feeling from early on because the importance of feeling you belong at the table is just as important as sitting at it.  At the end of the day, fear is a real thing.  So is anxiety, depression and everything else that is indescribable but lives in your own head.  Much of it comes with your DNA.  Figuring out how to work past those feelings are not easy but you are the only person who is aware of them.  Nobody else.  Remember that.  Also, work on making your head healthy.

FDR said the most eloquent thing about fear.  “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”   He was spot on.

Four kids….

2000-12-04 01.24.06 (1)The other morning I was walking to a breakfast and passed a Mom with four kids.  She was in shorts and a t-shirt pushing a stroller with a baby strapped to her chest, one kid standing on the back of the stroller, one in the stroller and a fourth walking next to her.  The kids had to all be under 5.  It got me thinking.

I sat down with my friend for breakfast and I just started talking about it.  He has three young kids and moved out to the suburbs a few years back.  His wife works four days a week.  I know from living in the suburbs that there are mothers that don’t work, mothers that work part time and mothers that work full time.  There is an obvious line drawn in the community from those who get called to be involved in the school and those that don’t.  There are bonds formed around women who are in one category.  There are a couple of men starting to take on the “at home” role but few and far between.  Lots of the conversation is completely centered around the kids.  Women on one side, men on the other at events.

The obvious question after seeing that mother is does she stay home for a decade or when does she return to work.  Seeing that woman juggle those four kids is hard work.  It is amazing that she can stay home and do that but is that a good thing forever?  Data shows that kids of working mothers are actually better off.

My friend who has 3 kids and a fourth on the way is trying to figure it out.  She wants to work.  Her oldest daughter wanted to know why she goes to work every day.  It upset her but the truth is her daughter was just stating something.  She happened to be written up in the newspaper that day so she showed her daughter that Mommy was doing something that made a difference.  That difference happened to be making an impact on the underserved but the reality is working makes an impact on her well-being Essentially saying to her daughter that you are my number one but I need to do something that is for myself is important.

The importance of women figuring out how to get back into the workplace after staying home for a few years is beyond important.  It gives them their own identity.  It says to her own kids that she is doing something that she can call her own.  That by going back to work she is showing her children that work is positive.  Moms are the role models to their children.

Staying home with our children for a few years at two separate times was an incredible experience and a great opportunity.  Returning to work under my own terms is rewarding.  I’ve been able to create my own life that is connected with their vs just being part of theirs.

Yes…that is all the thoughts that rambled through my head in one short burst.  I am still thinking about that woman.  She has a long road ahead.  Her kids are young.  Raising children is probably the most rewarding thing that I have ever done in my life.  Nothing else compares.  Going back to work wasn’t easy but it has allowed me to look in the mirror and not wonder what happened to that young college girl who thought she could take over the world.  She is actually still here.

Last day in Paris…and a long two weeks

I did a lot of walking today.  Went to some local haunts which is always a bonus too.  I started the day out at Cafe Flore with a baguette, an egg and coffee.  It was sunny, a little hot, but kind of perfect.

sopuI strolled over to Bon Marche, my favorite department store, and picked up a few items before meeting one of my investments, Meghan Conroy from Captureproof at Cuisine de Bar.  A trip to Paris with out Cuisine de Bar is hard to do.  Today I opted for the cold soup to start.  Usually go for the salad but somehow soup just sounded perfect.

sandwichHad the tomato and goat cheese tartine that I have had countless times before.  Had a little bit before taking the pic.

chocolatesThen we walked and talked.  Meghan had been a photographer in Paris 5 years ago and it was her first trip back.  She has been working 24/7 for almost 3 years.  Taking off time was well deserved and needed. She will return to SF with a whole new attitude.  We walked from the 6th all the way to the Bastille in the 11th.  A good hour and a half walk.  We strolled by the galleries.  Stopped in a few chocolate shops.  Made our way over to her friend who is a designer, Jamin Santanen.  We tried on clothes and just had fun.

It was time for me to go, had a call to jump on and needed to relax before heading out for dinner later that night.  We went to Cherche-Midi.  Two restaurants on the same block for me that day.  I have known about Cherche-Midi forever but have never gone.  It has been around for years and supposedly have the best Italian food in the city.  The place was packed.  The tables are so tight that two women sitting next to us couldn’t stand the space limitations and left.  Big mistake on their part.  Dinner was delicious.

burrataWe split the burrata and prosciutto.

pastaBucatini with a simple cold red sauce.  I liked how they did it.  They put the cold sauce on top of the warm noodles.

vealLast was veal marsala with seasonal vegetables on the side.

soldesA quick trip in Paris but always a good one regardless of the taxi strike on Thursday.  It is also the time of the year in Paris where everything is on “soldes”.  Can’t beat that.  Back to NYC and summer begins.

Lupe Fiasco

imgresWasalu Muhammad Jaco, better known by his stage name Lupe Fiasco, is an American rapper, record producer, and entrepreneur.   He took to the airwaves and posted this rant on Instagram on June 20th after the murders in Charleston, SC.  It is worth the read and pretty brilliant.

Just a side note, I read this quote on Redef and thought it was the perfect start to this read.

 “In terms of existence, everything is equal.”  Donald Judd


A letter. Part 1 Of 3 Dear White Supremacy, First of all you are not really that supreme. While throughout history White Supremacy it must be admitted you have achieved some very dominant positions. These positions have been gained mostly through force or some biological agent such as disease that did a lot of the dirty work for you in advance. I mean anybody can use force on an unarmed populous and anybody can have smallpox. Not judging, just wanted to point out that having a disease that native folks aren’t immune to because they’ve never seen it doesn’t make you strategically smart or tactically superior, just kind of sick. And these dominant positions don’t really stand up to the test of time that long either. There is nothing about you biologically or physically that denotes an innate mode of supremacy. For that matter there is also nothing about you psychologically, philosophically, cognitively, academically, socially, architecturally, culturally or even financially that signifies a higher position above any other group. And to be diplomatic there is nothing about you that denotes innate inferiority as well. So what you really are is something in the middle. You are regular. White Regularity is congruent to all other forms of regularity i.e. Black, Brown, Etc etc. But in regularity there is room for differences and this is where White Regularity shines! Each group gets the same essential universals. Dance, food, music, etc. and it must be admitted that the White Regularity take on these universal institutions has been unbelievably impressive and a great addition to the total world culture. I mean spaghetti and meatballs, Romeo & Juliet, Coldplay, The Tuxedo, lighter that air travel are all world class additions to the collective bucket but they are no less or more impressive than every other regular groups take on the universals either. And if we really wanted to get analytical every invention is built on inspiration from a previously existing invention so the claim of “The Supreme 1st” to do something is highly debatable and except for a few exceptions, impossible! All things human aren’t born from a supreme overlord solely working in isolation.

A photo posted by Lupe Fiasco (@lupefiasco) on Jun 20, 2015 at 7:33pm PDT


Part 2 of 3 Things are created in collaboration and in tandem with other cultures, knowledge structures and movements and more important, People. I mean if those Muslims didn’t catalog all that Greek philosophy for research we might not even know who Plato was. Now whether this collaboration is forced, which is seen so much but not exclusively throughout human history, does not take away the fact that it is done with the help of somebody else. We are supreme as a spectrum of colors in collaboration. One color does not dominate the other nor can it. Sure Steve Jobs was white. But the guy who built the computer was probably Chinese. And the girl who wrote the programs for the computer is probably from Mumbai. And the raw materials that were used to make it where probably first pulled out of the ground by somebody in South Africa. And if you take this highly collaborated upon piece of high technology to an indigenous tribe in the jungles of Brazil they’d probably use it as a boat paddle. And we can go on and on down or up the rabbit hole all day long and you’ll always find a regular somebody relying on the abilities of a just as regular somebody else that another regular somebody doesn’t even care about. White Supremacy is a lie white regularists tell to themselves in hopes that they can get a one way ticket to the top and hope we other colors overhear it. Here’s the bad news, ain’t no top. Here’s the good news though, ain’t no bottom neither! It’s just the regular ole middle where nobody is safe from being influenced by somebody else’s extreme regularness. Is your swastika flag printed in Mexico? Did you know the swastika is originally from Asia and the subcontinent? Did you know black people had slaves in Africa too? Did you know in the world your considered a minority too? I mean you call us niggers and beaners but you gotta ship all your formerly Native American land, backwood sourced ginseng to China to get money to support your meth habit. Meth that’s made with chemicals produced in India. I mean Hitler hated everything about the Jews expect every possession they had. It’s funny how the things you hate so much you have to rely on the most for your survival.

A photo posted by Lupe Fiasco (@lupefiasco) on Jun 20, 2015 at 7:35pm PDT

Equal Rights for everyone

slide_436062_5714050_freeI was getting in a cab in Paris when I found out that the Supreme Court passed marriage equality nationwide.  I started to cry.  I was seriously overcome with emotion.  We are finally moving forward as a nation from gay rights to healthcare to the slow evolution of legalizing weed to taking down the Confederate flag and that says something about where our nation is going.  I hope that gun control is next.

IMG_8031My daughter sent me this.  The numbers are staggering.  Let’s hope that there is a movement afoot and this is just the beginnings of change in our country.

I am celebrating this past week but we have to remember there is still a journey ahead of us.

Ljubijana and Paris

sloveniaAfter leaving Vienna we did a quick jaunt to Ljubijana for business.  We had been to Ljubijana five years ago and the city has changed a bit.  There are actually nice hotels.  There are more restaurants.  The food there was good the last time but now there appears to be a bit more variety.  There isn’t tons to do but it is such a beautiful city.  The river that flows through the city draws everyone in.  It is a walking town.

octosaladIt is a worthwhile trip if you have never been.  The town is small.  The country it small.  You can be at the beach in less than an hour.  The beaches are beautiful.  You can be skiing in roughly 30 minutes.  The mountains are beautiful too.  The country became independent in 1991 so it is relatively young.  After spending sometime talking with three super smart business women it is obvious they are trying to change their past culture around not being self-promoting particularly when it comes to the start-up community.

Our next stop was Paris.  It is like coming home.  There was a taxi strike when we arrived.  Cabbies are not happy with Uber because it is taking away from their business and pocketbook.  We had a car service take us into the city.  We were pelted with eggs when we left the airport and blocked from getting out.  Supposedly all drivers were supposed to unite that day and not drive anyone.  Our drive explained himself and they let us go.  It wasn’t pretty.

gardenWe walked the Luxembourg Gardens in the afternoon.

artStopped in the ever changing art gallery in the garden.

wadja (1)We had dinner at a local place called Wadja.  Really cute place.  Wonderful service.  The chef is excellent.  Creative dishes.  We will definitely return.  The menu is constantly changing.

carpaccioI started with a celery root carpaccio that was warm and topped with dollops of bone marrow.  Super rich and certainly an interesting combo.

sardineFred had a fish dish similar to sardines.  They were boned, raw and served in a ponzu type sauce.

lambFor dinner I had a leg of lamb topped with sweet cherry tomatoes and greens.  I didn’t love the greens, a little too bitter for the dish but everything else was really good.

vealFred had the roasted veal ribs that were caramelized and served with vegetables.  Excellent.

strawberriesDessert was part of the dinner.  39 Euros for three courses.  Strawberries on top of a strawberry sauce and a scoop of gelato.

lemonThe best was the lemon tart.  Scoops of lemon cream and soft meringue that had been torched over a crispy flat piece of baked phyllo dough.  Wow.

duskWe walked back to our place.  What is wonderful about Paris in the summer is that at 10pm the sun has yet to set.  It makes for a soothing long dusk at the end of the day.



Vienna in a day…and a night

museumsVienna is a small gem of a city.   Beautiful architecture, not crowded, great cafes, interesting stores and fantastic museums.  In one day we were able to see the top things in our list.  It was a rainy morning so we started at the museums.

treeshoneysuckleI believe this is a honeysuckle tree.  The smell was incredible.

klimdtWe began at the Leopold Museum.  The collection of Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele is astounding.  Schiele only lived to 28 years old dying from the flu epidemic that had taken over the city.  His wife had died three days before and was six months pregnant.  He had met Klimt at the Vienna art school.  Klimt became Schiele’s mentor.  This piece above is from Klimt.  The perfection of this painting is so precise that it almost looks like a photograph.

josefhoffmanTheir other pal was Josef Hoffman, a furniture designer who had made pieces for their homes.  These pieces were made in 1902.  Quite modern and ahead of his time.

stairThe museum itself is beautiful.  Large rooms, grand stair case out of marble.

egonselfThe exhibit tells the story of Egon and his wife Wally.  They were partners as well as lovers. I I I could not help that as I walked through  the museum and take in all of the art that one rarely sees without thinking about who owned this art originally.  Were these pieces taken by the Nazi’s?  Ends up some were.  These two pieces Schiele painted were of him and his wife, a double portrait.  They are incredible.

egonwifeThen I noticed something that was written about the pieces.  These pieces were originally owned by Lea Bondi Joray, a Jewish art dealer in Vienna who fled to London in 1939 and died in 1969.  These paintings were stolen by the Nazis in the 1930’s.  These paintings were sent to the MOMA in 1997 as a loan for an Egon Schiele exhibit.  It was then that the family alleged that these were stolen property.  It was eventually resolved in a US court in 2010 and the Leopold Museum paid a substantial claim to the Bondi Joray estate.  In return, they agreed to release the paintings to the Leopold Museum.

housesHere is another piece by Schiele called Crescent of Houses.   The Leopold definitely goes under the list of museums to always return to.

lichensteinThe next stop was the Modern Art Museum of Vienna.  This installation is called Ludwig Goes Pop.  It essentially shows all the artists that transformed modern art in the 60’s.   This piece is by Roy Lichenstein.  I love his work.  When I was in London, my junior year in college, I went to the Tate museum to see an exhibit of his work.  I was mesmerized.  I remember thinking this art I love. I believe I went back twice.  It was the beginnings of my love of modern art.

warholClassic Warhols that at this point are just iconic.  Flowers 1970.

jimdineI love this Jim Dine piece.  It was made in 1968.  When we were in Paris last year we saw a new piece by Jim Dine that I continue to think about.  The price was roughly $1m.  To see this piece and the one we saw last year gives a lot of context for me to see his evolution as an artist.

marisolA french artist, Marisol that I am not that familiar with but I thought this was a very cool sculpture.

tomwesslemnTom Wesselmann, Landscape, No. 2 1964.  There were also Rauschenbergs, Hockneys and George Segal.  Very cool modern building as well.  A glass elevator in the middle and the rooms circulate around the elevator.  The rooms are white and airy and the elevator area is dark grey.

warholsayingI captured this piece in the museum shop.  Warhol could not have been more right on about the future.

nclothingstoreOur next stop was a walk over to the Naschmarkt.  We stopped in two stores en route.  This store, Nachbarin carries all up and coming designers in Europe.  I had not seen one of those designers in the US ever.  Impressive.

vintagestoreNext door was an incredible vintage store called Lichterloh.  Good news is that they ship to the US.

marketWe got to the Naschmarkt.  Stalls of food and at the ends there is clothing.  What is impressive is how clean and organized everything is.  There is also a Turkish influence.

pickledSee all the pickled and stuffed vegetables.

pastasBeautiful pastas neatly lined up.

cheeseshopA cheese shop.

fruitFruit stand.

nowifiHad to take a photo of this stand.

fishWe sat down for lunch in one of the many restaurants that are throughout the market.  Nautilus was packed with mostly businessmen who probably have their lunches there daily.  The plates look delicious so we grabbed a table.  Might be on of the best things we have had yet on this trip.  Grilled fish for two, the Nautilus plate.

streetTime to walk off lunch.  We headed into the area that definitely feels hip.  At least one main street in each area has been transformed into walking only, no cars.  I like that.

parkThis store, Park, a concept store with collections of clothes, books, shoes and accessories.  A bunch of designers that I had never seen before either.

skateboardWe then walked over to the Stil-Laden, a skateboard shop.  Think Undefeated, a NY institution at this point.

juicebarThis Rauch juice bar intrigued us with the metal bins of vegetables that appear to come straight from the farm.  Also, established in 1919.  Could they have been that ahead of the times?  No.  It ends up that they began as a cider mill in 1919 and have slowly evolved into this.  Actually quite cool.

yellowfogWe jumped in a cab and went downtown.  This yellow light is part of a permanent exhibit called Yellow Fog by Olafur Eliasson.  The fog comes out at dusk and creates a haze on the building.  We were there in the late afternoon so didn’t get to witness the whole thing but I am glad we got to get the gist.

derinfrontIt was time for the famous chocolate torte.  Demel is a pastry shop loaded with pastries and chocolates.  It was right down the street from where we were.  We decided to go there for the Sacher Torte.  The place was packed so I got it to go.

derin in the backWe did peek at the actual bakery in the back before leaving.

buildingWe walked down the street and took a seat in front of this beautiful building.

chocolatetorte1The torte was not that great.  It was dry and just not good.  Totally disappointed.

dessertround2I figured if we were in Vienna then let’s just go full out and try another one.  We walked back to the Sacher Hotel where we were staying.  We sat down in the cafe and ordered our second Sacher Torte of the day.  While I was at it I figured an apple streudel was in order too.  The chocolate torte here was spot on and the dollop of whipped cream on the side is an added bonus.  The apple streudel was incredible.  Thinly slices pieces of apple that melt in your mouth rolled inside a flaky crust with hints of butter and cinnamon.  A worthy second round of dessert.

operaWe went to our room for a quick rest before heading out for the evening.  We are in Vienna so the opera was on the agenda.  An absolutely beautiful opera house.  We saw Rigoletto.  A classic Verdi piece. I grew up listening and playing classical music so I appreciate it.  The actual stories of opera are just down right silly but I gather that was entertainment in the 1800’s.

outsidesitWhat was super cool is that outside of the opera house there are free seats.

screenPeople can sit and watch the opera on a big screen outside in a square.  I am a big fan of that.  Art should be accessible to everyone.  There should also be a percentage of tickets available either free or at a lower cost for those who can’t afford the fancy seats.

ceilingI admit we only did one act of the opera before leaving for dinner.  It was just all we needed.  Dinner was at Skopik & Lohn.  A new restaurant in Vienna.  Great vibe.  They played music from Sam Cooke and Nina Simone.  The physical space was really well done.  The ceiling was painted in black loops.  Wood fixtures separated the space.  The menu was the right size.

avacadoFred had the mozzarella and avocado salad.

salmonI had the salmon with thinly sliced apples and fennel.

rabbitFor dinner, Fred had a deconstructed rabbit ravioli.

schnitzelI had to have the schnitzel.  The entire day was all about Vienna so why stop now.  It was the perfect end to a whirlwind of a day in Vienna.  Next stop Slovenia.








last day in Istanbul

Fred and I are really good at taking a city by storm.  We are also really good at calling in an audible.  We decided that four days in Istanbul was the perfect amount based on what we had seen and wanted to see so we made a small shift.  We decided to leave a little earlier and spend a day and two nights in Vienna before going to Slovenia.  Our last day in Istanbul was perfect.

fruits juicesWe got up and walked down the winding street of Beyoglu down to Karakoy for breakfast.  The street was just starting to wake up.  The juicers had already stacked up their fruits.

lanternsThe lanterns were hung.

oldarchitectureThe buildings stood as tall as they stood probably centuries ago.

towerPeople were already climbing up the tower.

selfiestickAnd selfie sticks were ready to sell.

breadsBreakfast was at Namli Gurme Karakoy.  We had walked by there the first day but couldn’t figure out how to get in.  We knew it was food galore but just ignored it and kept going.  Glad we came back.  This place is an oasis of delicacies.  Beautiful breads.

store of foodJars of food.

olivesOlives of course.

honey EditHoney.



counter to orderAnd of course the counter to order your breakfast.

bfastPerfect way to start the day.  Eggs with a little feta and tomato on top.

Our next stop was to journey to the neighborhood of Nisantasi.  Definitely one of the most exclusive neighborhoods.  We were set on seeing Armaggan.  A store that is like Takishamaya in Japan.  Ends up that the one store is near the Grand Bazaar which we had seen on Sunday and it was closed that day.  The store in this neighborhood is for VIP’s only who make reservations.  We walked in and poked around but didn’t stay.  Super high end Istanbul style.  Alas.

aliceinwonderlandInstead we went to Dirimart Arts, a gallery I wanted to see.  The artist showing was Pelin Kirca and the exhibit was called In Bloom.  Drawings connected to Alice in Wonderland.

inbloomHere is two of them.

Beymen a high end fashion store is one that we stopped in to as well.  Then it was time to return to our hotel and get ready to go on our journey.

turkishairlinesIn all the traveling we have done I have never seen a lounge like the one that Turkish Airlines has in Istanbul.  It is insane.

mapofloungePool table, movie room with a popcorn machine, marble bathroom, variety of different restaurants, carts that come around with desserts and chefs.  Truly incredible.  There is a map just so you know where to go.

meimeibarWe arrived in Vienna around 7 and headed out to dinner at Meierei.  A beautiful restaurant located underneath a very fancy one, Stieireck located in Stadtpark.

restaurantoutsideThe building is beautiful.  Didn’t get a great picture in the night but it is very modern.

Back to the hotel to charge up for our one day in Vienna.

Istanbul, Day 3

sofiaWhen we go to a new urban jungle we take in as much as possible.  I’d also categorize us as adventurous.  We figure it out on our own and are willing to go pretty much anywhere.  We got up early this day and ventured out to the old city.

lightingOur first stop was the Hagia Sophia.  Built between 537 as an Eastern Orthodox Cathedral.  It became a mosque between 1435 and 1931.  In 1935 it was opened as a museum.  The building is incredible.  Always under some kind of scaffolding due to the age.  These are the hanging ceiling lights that hang throughout the place.

meburkaThe next stop was the Blue Mosque.  I was pretty sure I had dressed appropriately.  I wore a mid-length skirt and had my shoulders covered.  I was wrong.  I attempted to tell them that in line but trust me the woman who handed me the outfit I have on above was in no mood to negotiate with me.

bluemosqueIt was pretty packed inside so it is not easy to truly appreciate its glory.

stanfordAfterward we continued over to the Topkapi Palace.  Beautiful grounds and several buildings.  Each one contains something else to see from textiles to gems.  We both thought the grounds of the Topkapi Palace resembled Stanford.

muslimladiesHere are some women waiting in line to get in.  What I find to be the most interesting part of traveling is the tourists.  You can tell where people are from.  Everyone is taking in the scene that they have come to see.  It is fascinating.

marketIt was Sunday and not much is open.  We walked around the neighborhood and it didn’t take much to realize Sunday is certainly a day for rest.  I discovered that there are a few farmers markets on Sunday.  Not in the finest of neighborhoods but we figured we would be just fine…and we were.  The first market we went to is called Inebolu.

mixEach of the vendors have these large deep baskets filled with vegetables, fruits, nuts and spices.

cherriesIt is definitely cherry season because they were abundant.

mushroomsThis market had a variety of mushrooms too.

pasteThis was a homemade paste.  Not sure what.  Nobody spoke English.  It didn’t stop me from buying and looking but wasn’t sure I could take a paste home.

eggsThis guy was only selling eggs.  I love all the different colors.  Note that nothing is refrigerated either.

driedfruitAll dried fruit.  The apricots are delicious.

jarsI should have bought one of each of these jars and just brought them home.  I decided I did not want to carry three big glass jars around all day.

cherrtomatoesBeautiful tomatoes.

olivesmoreInsanely delicious olives.  This was pretty much the end of this market.

othermarketThere was another one that is not that far away.  A taxi drove by and we hopped in and went over to Tarlabasi Market.  This neighborhood is not the finest and from what I read is going through a transition so not sure how much longer this market will continue.  It is a big market that starts out with food and then becomes a clothing and other wares further down.



artichokesArtichoke bottoms already ready for cooking.  This is how they are served here.  Usually in olive oil after being steamed.

olivesMore olives.  I was tempted to get that bottle of olive oil but it was in a plastic bottle that was not too solid.  I could only imagine coming back to the states, opening up my suitcase and seeing all my clothes drenched in olive oil.

picklesReally good pickled products.  I got a few pickles to taste.

mintI smelled the mint before I saw it.  So good.

breadWe were definitely hungry.  I thought there might be more things to eat at the market.  People making foods but these are pure greenmarkets.  Then we both smelled roasted cinnamon.  I back tracked until I found where the smell was coming from.  These men were taking fresh breads out of a small shop behind one of them vegetable stands.  They were lining up breads that I think they were taking somewhere to sell.  I came over and asked if I could buy one.  They had to find something to wrap it up in and gave me the bread.  It was super hot and right out of the oven.  Soft sweet cinnamon bread with tiny pieces of cheese melted into it.  Sort of like a thick pizza dough.

watermelontruckWe left the market and started to walk back to our hotel.  We were about 15 minutes from it at this point.  Walked by the watermelon truck.

bridgetoasiaBack to the hotel to re-group.  We have taken in the town and it was Sunday.  We decided to go over to the Four Seasons on the Bosphorus and stare at the water.  It was perfect.  This is the bridge that connects Europe to Asia.  Pretty cool