We started our journey of a lifetime in the stunning and VERY remote slice of wilderness called the Kabak Valley. Nature was the main attraction here at the Shambala resort (using the word resort loosely). “Who needs hot water anyway” as the proprietor smiles.There was certainly an energy vortex here as we practiced yoga on the veranda overlooking the most incredible blue/green Mediterranean water. Some of us even braved the cold water and took a swim. As we hiked along the unspoiled coastline of the 300-mile Lycian trial, we marveled at the beauty and diversity of the terrain. Then it was onward and upward (4000 feet above sea level) towards the wonderland of Cappadocia in the middle of Turkey known for its fairy-like landscapes. But before I get ahead of myself, I wanted to mention an absolute highlight of the trip which was our visit to Konya to see Rumi’s old stomping ground and where he wrote his most profound poetry. And because we all read the “40 Rules of Love” by Elif Shafak, it made the visit engaging. Especially the Whirling Dervish show where we all took turns either napping or hysterical laughing. Speaking of laughing, it was a”curb episode” in the turkish bath with naked “soapy” girls in the Hamman. Just the visual, no pictures! Sunrise in a hot air balloon felt like we are on top of the world over a lunar landscape…truely surreal and not to be missed. I will remember it forever. As I will the faces of the beautiful children in the village of Soganli that we so generously donated a new computer and printer to their school. Giving back is the essence of our being. And long bus rides were a testament to our nature. Next stop, Istanbul! Straight to the Blue Mosque, St. Sophia, topkapi palace (marvel at the 86 carat spoonmaker’s diamond) and the enchanting underground Cistern. Did I mention shopping? Yup, the famous bazaar didn’t know what hit them between buying fake hermes, leather jackets, evil eyes and rugs. We divided and conquered. Cruising the bosphorus to our oasis on the Asian side enlightened all of us to the beauties of Istanbul from the sea. And saved us hours in traffic which is a real problem in this city of dreams. Finally take note that even though the country became a secular state in the 1920s, the population is still predominately Muslim and sounds of the call to prayer is heard everywhere 5 times a day. In fact, the pre-dawn muezzin chants “it’s better to pray than to sleep”. Let us pray…until we meet again.