10 things I loved about Turkey

I have been cycling in Turkey for 3.5 weeks, from Edirne in the west to the Georgian border with detours through Cappadocia and to the mountains like Ararat. I had an incredible, adventurous and wonderful time. Here's the top 10 of my favourite things about Turkey:

Dreieinhalb Wochen hat mein Trip durch die Türkei gedauert, einmal längs durch mit verschiedenen Umwegen. Es war ein unvergessliches Abenteuer. Hier sind die 10 Dinge, die mir am besten in Erinnerung bleiben:

Picnic on the road after a typical invitation
Picnic on the road after a typical invitation

1. The people / hospitality 

I don't think there is another country where people are more welcoming, hospitable and friendly. The number of times I have been invited to sit, eat and drink, or being offered accommodation are uncountable.

Typically when I cycle people wave at me followed by a sign to come over. This happened in all parts of Turkey that I have been to.

1. Die Gastfreundschaft 

Ich bin erst seit kurzem in Georgien und vermisse die türkische Gastfreundschaft bereits. Unzählige Male wurde ich eingeladen, von wildfremden Personen am Straßenrand, im Restaurant oder im Café; überall in der Türkei 

Cheese cake and Turkish coffee
Cheese cake and Turkish coffee

2. The sweets 

If you know me you know I love cakes, cookies and everything with chocolate. I cannot remember place where I have indulged in sweets more than in Turkey. Thankfully I am burning a lot of calories while cycling so I could afford plenty of Baklava, Künefe and the thousands of delicious cakes they offer in Turkey. 

2. Die Süßspeisen 

Lecker! Das wird mir noch fehlen, denn ICH LIEBE SÜßIGKEITEN. Beim Bike verliert man genug Kalorien, da ist das kein Problem. 3 bis 5 Stück Kuchen sind schon drin :)

Breakfast in a ski lift station in Erciyes
Breakfast in a ski lift station in Erciyes

3. Kahvalti 

I love a good kahvalti (Turkish breakfast): It often consists of bread, eggs, cheese, jams, honey, cucumber, tomato, olives and more.

It's just perfect to start a long day of cycling. 

Kahvalti, das türkische Frühstück ist einfach der perfekte Start in einen langen Rad-Tag.

Relaxing after a hamam
Relaxing after a hamam

4. Hamam

After a few days of cycling, camping and probably no shower there isn't anything better than a Hamam (Turkish bath). Check this separate entry about hamam I wrote earlier, click here.

Für den geschundenen Körper ist ein Hamam, ein türkisches Bad mit Sauna und Massage immer zu empfehlen. 

Looking back on Hasan Dagi
Looking back on Hasan Dagi

5. Mountains 

Turkey has a lot of mountains, ranging up to over 5000m. What I found truly spectacular was that many of the high mountains stand free and over magnificent views from far away.

5. Die Berge 

Das türkische Hinterland ist erstaunlich bergig mit atemberaubenden Aussichten und traumhaften Landschaften, geprägt von den unzähligen 3000er Bergen und wenigen die sogar noch höher sind.

That's me, drinking çay
That's me, drinking çay

6. Çay

Turkish tea, it is more than a drink it's a social activity and a way to connect with people. All over the country I've had çay with innumerable people from all walks of life and of all ages.
Ich glaube die Türken trinken noch mehr Tee (= Çay) als die Briten. In knapp 3 Wochen hab ich mehr Tee getrunken, als in meinem bisherigen Leben zusammen (okay, das ist etwas übertrieben). Zusammen Tee trinken verbindet die Menschen hier.
A typical lunch for me in Turkey
A typical lunch for me in Turkey

7. Food

Pide (Turkish pizza), Köfte (meat balls), Dürüm, Çigköfte, Kebap, Lahmaçun, Börek, ... do I need to say more?
7. Türkisches Essen
Dürüm, Köfte, Pide, Lahmaçun, ... ich liebe türkisches Essen in Deutschland. In der Türkei ist die Qualität und Vielfalt selbstredend noch besser (und der Preis auch :)
A popular and healthy drink
A popular and healthy drink

8. Şalgam Suyu

Şalgam Suyu stands representing for the odd and peculiar food and drink: It is fermented red carrot juice. Not everyone here likes it but I doubt that anyone anywhere is a fan of this healthy drink. It's rather salty and I thought it's salad dressing when I took my first sip. I tried it several times, don't think I will ever get used to it. Şerefe!
Eine türkische Spezialität aus fermentierter roter Karotte: Şalgam Sugu ist salzig, schmeckt fast wie Salat-Dressing und ist nicht jedermann's Sache (meine eigentlich auch nicht, aber ich fand es skurril genug um es hier zu erwähnen).
Zen and the art of bike maintenance
Zen and the art of bike maintenance

9. Bike shops 

Due to a few bike problems plus planned repairs I have experienced bike shops in Istanbul, Konya, Aksaray, Erzincan and Sivas. Needless to say the mechanics were very friendly and offered çay but they also were very methodical and handy. The jobs were greatly executed and the individuals were very proud of the skills and their work. Some of the shops themselves were tiny and messy, or even dirty and you wouldn't expect to find help to count on by those looks.

Dank technischer Probleme hatte ich mehrmals das Glück, türkische Bike - Shops zu benutzen. Freundlich und kompetent wurde mein Bike auf Vordermann gebracht, während ich Çay schlürfte.

Modern, huge and empty; the perfect road
Modern, huge and empty; the perfect road

10. The roads

The traffic infrastructure is impressive. Wide and modern roads with huge hard shoulders to cycle on. And if there was a bad road somewhere they were already fixing it.

10. Die Straßen 

Wer hätte das gedacht?: Die Türkei hat die besten Straßen, die ich bis jetzt auf meiner Tour gesehen hab. Extrem breit, mit riesigem Seitenstreifen, modern, top!

Bye bye Turkey, you will be missed but it's time to move on
Bye bye Turkey, you will be missed but it's time to move on

A lot more could be mentioned here, Orhan Pamuk, architecture, mosques, castles, just to name a few. I'm sure there are many things I haven't thought of (bazaars?) or I haven't experienced yet (eg. the sea side resorts). Turkey has been wonderful thanks for everything and thanks to everyone for those great experiences.

Die Liste ließe sich beliebig fortsetzen und dabei hab ich viele Dinge noch nicht einmal ausprobiert oder gesehen.

Ich hatte eine tolle Zeit in der Türkei!

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