In one of our less well-planned moments, we found ourselves on the promenade at the busy (and expensive) town of Eregli as night fell; we were exhausted and forlorn, and with no place to go. Within minutes however, we were flanked by two complete strangers whom without prompting, had taken on the task of finding our accommodation for the evening. Other passers-by were pulled in and after several phone calls (one guy impressively holding the same conversation simultaneously on two separate phones) we were sent away with concise instructions to an affordable and ‘cycle-friendly’ hostel. Everyone involved seemed to want nothing more than to help us out.
We were later told (by a chap trying to sell us a carpet) that Turkey is famous for two things: its carpets and its hospitality. While we are unable to vouch for the former, we can certainly confirm that hospitality in Turkey appears to be on steroids. The level of generosity and willingness to assist has been incredible. We have been gifted meals, been plied with enough tea to develop a mild addiction to the stuff, shared stories through the medium of Google Translate, and although some assistance – the hands-on first, questions later approach to bicycle repair for example – was perhaps a little doubtful in its helpfulness, the enthusiasm cannot be faulted.
We arrived in Turkey with some preconceived ideas about what to expect from the country, and the Turks have taken those ideas and kicked them firmly into touch. What a great bunch; we tip our cap to you The Turks.