So for the first day in a week, we drew breath. On Sunday, Autocar's trek across Europe in the new Nissan Qashqai reached the end of the outward-bound leg in Istanbul, and yesterday we remained in the capital, seeking out locations for snapper Stan to shoot the car.

It was a strange feeling to temporarily put down roots after several 500-mile thrashes across countries. Constant motion gets under your skin; days blend together, and you start distinguishing between nations by the quality of their road network and frequency of service stations.

The odometer told us that we'd amassed 2983 miles since the first Autocar driving team – Richard Bremner and Stan Papior – left Nissan's production facility in Sunderland on Monday 17 February. We'd not taken the most direct route across the Continent, but we'd ticked off as many countries as was practical on our way to Istanbul. Greece gave us the slip; the signpost temptingly hove into view as we headed across Bulgaria, but we were worried about border hold-ups at Turkey so decided not to divert south.

Istanbul was chosen as our destination because it represents one of the points where east meets west, and seemed to reflect the ethos behind the Qashqai, the product of a Japanese company that is woven into European culture.