Group Journal April 15, 2013 - May 8, 2013

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Day 01 April 15, 2013 Monday
Istanbul, Turkey

Meeting the tour members at the lobby of the hotel was like a family reunion. I had traveled with most of them in 8 - 9 different countries from Mongolia to Morocco. The only new tour member was the husband of a lady who too had been on at least six of my tours  in Central Asia, Syria and the Balkans. they all knew that we would start our tour with a nice meeting to go over the itinerary and be totally prepared for the adventure that we were going to have for the next 24 days.
After the meeting even those who did not know each other had no doubt that it was a great group and that we will have a wonderful tour. With big smiles and great anticipation off we went for our dinner. For a group of thirteen who had been to Istanbul so many times before and especially for those who had already been in Istanbul for over a week, finding a unique restaurant was a challenge, but that is what I like, I like to surprise my tour members and assure them that each time they travel with me, we will have another "wow" experience. Actually in Istanbul is a great city to find new little secret locations for every one to pleasantly surprised and satisfied.

Tonight, we chose to go down under of Istanbul and experience a Byzantine atmosphere. Walking down the stairs into the 1500 year old cistern gave every one goose bumps. Only in Istanbul you can travel in time so rapidly. The Byzantine green glaze on the ceramic plates and cups, a huge fire in the fireplace and the music resonating the Byzantine tunes  set the ambiance for an excellent dinner.

Since we have a very early departure tomorrow, we were all packed. All we had to do is sleep well and be ready for our flight to Skopje tomorrow!

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