11 mei 2008
Just before the border
A lot can happen in just a few days. We left our South African friends at the black sea coast unfortunately, but hopefully we will meet up again later this trip. We left the coast at Trabzon to go south towards Erzurum. We can say, we are in a completely different Turkey now! İt started with the snow at the mountains in Bayburt. We were quite surprised, but our experiences with cycling through snow made us continue our trip down the hill (see for a more detailed story :http://www.nrcnext.nl/projecten/fietsenpeking)
After warming our hands again in the town Açkale, we camped at a picknick place where two firemen were on watch. They gave us some food and tea and made sure we were save in our litttle tent.
The next day we cycled to Erzurum, not far from there. Julie's bankpasses, which were still in İstanbul, were delivered there by express mail, so we had to stay in a hotel overnight (what a bummer). On Thursday we got on our bikes again but just before leaving the town, Julie saw this strange looking vehicle with two French guys in it... on there way to İran! (www.raidpariscalcutta.org). So we cycled together for 2 days which was good fun besides the weather (on our way to Ağri we had a big thunder/rain/snow/wind storm). But besides our little campfires we could warm up again... who would think that we had to get out our winter gear here in Turkey!
They were even more interesting than us with there bicycle car, so we could just stand back and watch them handling all the Turkish people gathering around... Jippie!!
İn Agri we had to leave our cycling friends (again), they had to go back to Erzurum for some package... we wanted to continue to Doğubayazit to go to İran! But who knows, maybe we can catch up again, because we are definitely not yet in İran!
In Doğubayazit we met Burhan, a mountain guide at Mount Ararat. He is one of the kindest persons we have met! We helped him a bit with some English/Spanish emails, and he took us out for dinner, showed us around in Doğubayazit and took us to Ismak Paşa Palace. Tonight we are going to some Kurdish party and tomorrow... we might even go up with him on the mountain! At least to 3200m, depending on the weather, maybe even a bit further. So well, we'll be stuck here for some time, but: we don't mind at all!
So we will let you know when we finally arrive in İran...all dressed up!