After about a thousand hours of travelling we finally arrived in Istanbul - by the time we got to the hotel it was about 4am. We slept for about 1.5hours before being woken up by the morning call for prayer, that's when we looked out the window and there before us was this great be beautiful mosque. Not quite the Blue Mosque or the Hagia Sophia but beautiful enough for that hour of the morning. So we started our day with next to no sleep. We met up with the tour group and visited all the sites of Istanbul over the course of the day. I love Istanbul, it is nothing like anywhere I have visited. The place is just full of excitement and history. The mosques were so grand and big. Each sultan trying to outdo each other and so creating bigger and better buildings. We went to the Sultans Palace and i got to see this massive diamond - 84 carat - which someone stupidly thought would look good as a ring. Can you imagine that - it would be like carrying around and bowling ball on your finger. We also visited the Basilica Cistern which is this underground, well, cistern which is beautifully lit up with coloured spotlights so that the columns glow and the water sparkles. There is a particular column that has a face of Medussa upside down on it. She is placed there to protect the water and turn any intruders who try stealing the water into stone. Great phillosophy but i think they should rely on a door as a safer option. The night was finished off with a cruise along the River Bosphorus as the sun set. With an introduction like that to a country, it was no wonder that the rest of the trip was just as incredible.