The first impressions of Turkey are far beyond our expectations. Everywhere you go people are friendly, helpful and hospitable. They are interested, well humored and will invite you without hesitation. While camping, people stopped, gave us drinks and food and other times we were not allowed to pay because we were their guests, wether in a bakery, restaurant or café. This happens almost every day and it makes you feel welcome and humble. Food is good and tasty, healthy and cheap. I have seen some wineshops but there is no alcohol drinking culture. Men socialize and talk politics over tea while playing tavla (backgammon), okey or cards in their café’s. The number of people I have spoken with about Turkey’s politics seem to be free in their opinion.
Cycling can be an endurance ride in Turkey. Although the roads are reasonably good they can be steep and the landscape is vast and treeless. So some parts we decided to take a bus or train but mind you, writing this we are not even halfway Turkey. After reading some Turkish history and some travel books we decided to cycle through the Phrygian Valley. The Phrygians lived in West Central Anatolia from the 11th century BC and had a vibrant civilization by the mid 8th century. The legendary Midas was the most famous King of the Phrygians. They left behind many carved rock monuments of which we visited a few.
Cycling through this part of Turkey was a great escape into nature and history. It was peaceful, interesting and warm.