Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Palm Beacher Lorna Graev’s wanderlust started at a young age. Born to an American father and French mother, she spent her teenage summers visiting family in, and traveling around, Europe. When the trilingual Graev is not exploring, she is busy with her work on the board of directors of Fountain House, a mental health organization she started working with 12 years ago; she is currently its vice chair of external affairs. Heredity played a role in Graev’s philanthropy: Her mother had bipolar disorder, and she does as well. In 2010, she was instrumental in the creation of a Fountain House-model program in Paris.


Inherited affinity

Istanbul, Turkey, is my favorite place in the world. It’s exotic, and it’s where East meets West. I feel a special connection to Turkey because my great-grandfather on my paternal side, John Leishman, was the first U.S. ambassador to Turkey.


Serene surroundings  

I stay at Ciragan Palace Kempinski—the hotel is situated along the Bosphorus, and the outdoor space is exquisite. When you’re in the swimming pool, you’re level to the waters of the Bosphorus, and the beautifully landscaped gardens go right to the shore.


Always exploring

I never get tired of sightseeing in Istanbul. The history and culture are so rich. Some of my favorite excursions include: the Blue Mosque; Topkapı Palace, which dates back from the 15th century and overlooks the Bosphorus; it’s the largest and oldest palace to survive to present day. It is an important example of Ottoman architecture. I recommend Hagia Sophia. Originally built as a cathedral in Constantinople in the sixth century, later converted into a mosque and now a museum, the Hagia Sophia is the epitome of Byzantine architecture. Also see the Museum of Innocence. Inspired by his 2008 novel of the same name, preeminent Turkish author Orhan Pamuk opened this museum, which houses a collection of items and culture from the period in which the novel is set.


Wait. There’s more

For dining, I recommend Mikla—a Turkish-Scandinavian fusion restaurant with incredible views; Ulus 29—delicious Turkish and international food with an Istanbul vibe, also with amazing views from the hills of the Bosphorus. Finally, I suggest Rumeli Kavagi—it’s a simple fish restaurant at the mouth of the Bosphorus and the Black Sea.


Fabulous finds

For shopping, you have to visit the Grand Bazaar. It’s one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world. It has a little of everything, but it’s an especially great place to buy leather goods and antique jewelry. I’ve found a beautiful painted icon from the 17th century, probably Russian; an antique diamond bracelet from 1920s France; a leather jacket—all purchased at the Grand Bazaar.


The art of packing

My suitcases all accommodate hanging clothes, and I have a set of custom-made fabric cases in which I pack everything that doesn’t hang. I can unpack everything in less than five minutes, and all my clothes are crisp and ready to wear.



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