Thursday, August 14, 2008
Oh, dear readers. I've done well.
Choosing a hotel room from afar is a tricky business. It used to be that I could rely on a trusted travel guide (my guide of choice: Rick Steves, whose seminal Europe through the Back Door was my bible on my first trek to Europe at 18 and who's been guiding me on my overseas exploits ever since). But now every hotel also has a web site, so you've got to go check them out and see if you still like them. And then, if the tacky decor, or--in the case of Turkish hotels--overwhelmingly cheesy Flash doesn't drive you away, you're still not done. Not in this day and age of Google and TripAdvisor and Yelp.
Which brings me to my current location: The Hotel Sultan Hill. Would you believe I almost decided against this place because I could find nothing negative online? Everyone was glowing, and the price was amazing, and the location extraordinary. So what was the trick? There had to be a trick! I finally decided that the price was cheaper because there was no television and went ahead and booked.
So far, the only trick I can find is that there is a television. And that the hotel staff is incredibly friendly and speak excellent English. And that since we're across the street from a mosque (and not just any mosque, but the world-renowned Blue Mosque) there are no nightclubs or bars or loud annoying anythings on our quiet cobbled street, even though we're right in the heart of the old town Sultanahmet district. The picture above is me on our rooftop deck. Mike and I sat there for a long time tonight, enjoying the breeze from the Marmara sea and watching the gulls fly lazy circles around the glowing minarets.
I've missed him these past two weeks, and to be able to reunite in a city like Istanbul is nothing short of amazing.