28 April 2013

Istanbul to Goreme

Day 2. 26 April 2013.

Today was the first driving day, kicking off with a 12+ hour, 800+ Km, drive to Goreme. The original schedule has today as a much shorter drive with bush camping on route, but a long day of driving gave us an extra day to explore Goreme - worth getting up at 0415 for a 0500 meeting outside the hostel.

The hostel itself was great - clean, safe, fun and on an interesting street (think a smaller version of Long Street). They are obviously use to working with Dragoman as at 5am they'd managed to provide us breakfast and coffee. I'd stay there again.

At 0511 the wheels rolled and we were on our way, Olly (the tour leader) driving for them first leg.

Driving through Istanbul pre-dawn and what is otherwise a very busy and manic city was calm, still and peaceful - a side to Istanbul which probably isn't seen that often. The full(ish?) moon providing a wonderful light, especially on the water.

By 0530 we'd crossed the bridges from the European side of Istanbul in to the Asian side - within half an hour of day 2 and we are on our second continent.

There was a very noticeable air of excitement as we drive through Istanbul, the feeling from all of us that this was real and the start of something exciting. Big smiles all round.

The next 12+ hours areas spent driving through increasingly more rural land, stopping a few times for a leg stretch; lunch was overlooking Turkey's second largest lake. My time is spent taking in the scenery and getting to know my fellow travellers, mostly of whom (4/6) are going all the way to Mongolia.

Arriving in the hostel for tonight and we have a well earned beer and a simple meal. We all sleep early, having been up at far-too-early-o'clock, within some of the group up early again for a hot air balloon ride - something I didn't do.

The soundtrack for today was a selection of music brought to me by D. Thank you, D.