Although I've been in Istanbul for a couple or days, today is day 1 of the tour. By random chance I met one of the guys who it doing the whole 4 months whilst sat out on the hostel's roof-top bar terrace last night with the people I was sharing a dorm with and another over breakfast this morning; I met the other 3 (+ 2 crew) who are leaving Istanbul tomorrow this morning at the prearranged meeting point (the hostel I'm staying in - handy, and planned).
I spent my first day in Istanbul shattered in all the ways possible, so took it very easy. Slept a chunk during the day, wandered around during the evening, a little to eat and then, because it's a backpackers, drinking and smoking shisha (a first) until about midnight with two random Ozzies I ended up sitting with. One who had spent years living in London working as a chef before then working as a chef on superyatchs, now heading back to Oz; the other taking 3 months out to go around to world before doing his PhD in genetics. A great evening and one that helped settle my head into "this is real", although that really hit me as I was dozing on my bunk with the windows opened - the smell of cooking coals below, a sea of languages being spoken and the Adhan from the Mosques.
10 hours of sleep later and I was (more) human, so wandered around the old town, the Grand Bazaar (all the dust gathering tat you could ever need) and the outside of the Blue Mosque and the Ayasofya - the queue for entry being hours and that is longer than I'm prepared to wait, although it is meant for be worth it. Istanbul is a places I want to return to and do properly, so I'm not worried about not going inside to look around properly - as with everything in this trip, it's a trade.
Today it going to be another quiet day for me today as we've got a 0500 start tomorrow, which my body will think is 0300. An early start, but it's goes use more time in Goreme, our first stop.