I’m off to Istanbul tomorrow. Never been. Previously known as Constantinople and Bysantium, Istanbul has got to represent one of the greatest concentrations of antiquities and past civilizations in the whole world. I’m only staying for three days and am there for business so it won’t all be sightseeing but I’ll try and pack in as much as I can and keep you informed. I can’t say that I know a whole lot about Turkish history or the Ottoman empire but I did read a fascinating book last year called Paradise Lost by Giles Milton, a favourite author of mine and it was about the history of Smyrna (modern-day Izmir) around the turn of the 19th century and leading up to the aftermath of the first World War.