Reached the Bulgarian boarder at just before 1am and had to get off and get a leaving stamp. Then it was back on the bus and came to a duty free mall and toilet break. Our grouped headed to the toilet while the more locals all went and brought as many cigarettes as they possible could duty free. Then it was time to cross into turkey. Had to wonder out and around at the crossing to get a visa. $20us dollars ( very grateful to the girl in the group that was able to lend me the cash as that is what they want no cards)
The back over to the stamping officer to get an entry stamp. Boarder customs were doing a very thought search of the bus in front of us and everyone was standing with the luggage open. They were also some dogs going a little crazy and not really listening to the master. But they stayed focused on the bus in front and we got through with no checks.
There was a stewardess on the bus and she handed out muffins and water at the start if the trip. Don't think I have travelled on a bus with this kind of service before. She also did the head count to ensure everyone was on the bus after each stop.
Tired to get some sleep but there was a large guy that snored behind and a few with smokers cough.
Took a taxi from the bus station to the hotel. Was about 530am so close to 6 am when we arrived at the hotel. Were lucky that the rooms were available so was able to check in. Walked out to try and get breakfast but places still closed. Walked towards the palace and around the outer wall then along to the hagia Sophia and walked pasted the blue mosque. Went and found some breakfast as it was now later and more things were open. Had my first Turkish delight squares... So delicious I think this maybe the start of daily treats
After breakfast said goodbye to the intrepid tour group and went in search of some accommodation for the next week. Wasn't having much lucky most places seem to be full over the weekend or had rude staff at reception. Eventually found somewhere for four night so hopefully it all works ok.
Took some time to have a quick walk into the grand bazaar. It is sooo big I didn't venture too far in as I didn't want to get lost. There are so many things for sale and even more people crowded inside. Walked around just looking at the city before stopping for what they called double chocolate Turkish delight. Was disappointed, will try more of the tradition flavors next time.
Walked back towards the main square outside the blue mosque and came across a dance and music perform reshursale. Was nice to sit in the sun and enjoy the show. Enjoyed a nice lunch of cheese and spinach pastry. Was starting to feel tired after a nigh of little sleep on the bus so headed back to the hotel via some difference ones checking out more prices and availability.
Spent the late afternoon reading over the guide books and looking at the different day tours and how to fit everything and make the best use of my days in Istanbul. Before dinner went into the tourist info office and found out that on of day trip I was very keen to do was only available for tomorrow so then had to book that. Wasn't what I had originally had planned but if that is when it is on then just go with it I guess. Had an alright dinner. They tried to add flavor to the food by covering it in chillies.