We leave Iran behind, after 3094 km cycled accross it... As we arrive at the Turkish immigration office, the officer, before even saying hello, gestures to Yvoine that she should take her headscarf off: "no need for this here!" No need to repeat it twice, the scarf goes, and so do the long sleeves...
What contrast... Turkey is the 3rd muslim country we cross. In Pakistan, we felt the heavy weight of traditions and customs, religion being part of the way people seem to have lived for decades. In Iran, we felt religion was much more imposed on populations: it is a religious police state, dictating rules and restrictions, and making sure they are followed. Turkey seems extraordinarily liberal after that! We have only spent a few hours in the country that we get offered beer. Women are on the street, wearing skirts and short-sleeve tops... It is true the teahouses remain occupied mainly by men in the countryside but in bigger cities, patrons are of both sex. Not far from the border, an Irani asks us for some advice: he has just arrived in Turkey and would like to buy some wine but has never done it before so would like some recommendation.
At the other end of Turkey is Europe, the beggining of our last leg. For the first time, we feel France is getting closer. And so we go, happily cycling those first few kilometers, on roads that are decidedly worse than our beautiful sealed Irani roads, and in a tensed and armed atmosphere, the Turkish army being very present in this region where kurds are a majority.