As a cyclist you get used to people telling you to be careful because the drivers in their country/state/city are particularly dangerous. Mostly it turns out to be not much different from anywhere else but coming into Istanbul I finally thought that maybe this time they were right. Eventually I left the road and headed down to the waterside and followed a bike path, slower but a significantly reduced chance of dying under a bus so overall a good trade off I guess.
And so it was that I arrived safely in Istanbul. Overall the riding has been great, particularly from the Alps onwards and on through the Balkans. Socially, I have to say that I really missed the open, friendly bar culture of the US trip. Whilst I usually managed to engineer a conversation in the evening it's much harder work in the more closed, conservative European table culture. France, Holland, Albania and Bulgaria were the exceptions most conducive to bar based conversation.
If I were to do the trip again I would probably reroute the first week and got through France, Switzerland and northern Italy into Slovenia as Belgium and Germany were not hugely exciting. Obviously I won't do it again, there are so many new places to go, but if you're thinking of a similar trip that would be my recommendation.