A three day ride across NE Anatolia

2009/08/21: Kars to River Gorge Camp 83km
2009/08/22: River Gorge Camp to Stream Camp 95km
2009/08/23: Stream Camp to Erzurum 38km
2009/08/24: Erzurum

Margo overtaking a horse and cart 

It was an uneventful ride across high grasslands and fertile valleys, with pleasant campsites. Heavy dew delayed packing camp each morning, and temperatures were a moderate 28C in mid-afternoon. Our camping and cooking skills have become finely honed. We’ve had a warm reception in small towns along the way, even once being given vegetables and a delicious melon.

View of village mosque across fields

We’ve recently joined the main Iran to Istanbul road and much of the traffic is Iranian. Stopping at a war memorial, because Margo had a puncture, we sampled Iranian hospitality from a family who showered us with goodies.

On the third day we arrived in Erzurum just after lunch. Here we suffered because it’s the holy fasting period of Ramadan, which means nearly all restaurants are closed during daylight hours. This had not affected us while travelling because travellers are exempt from the fasting, and anyway we were mainly self catering. After some searching we found a small restaurant open and ate salad and half a roast chicken each… while suitably hidden away in an upstairs room.

 Unique minaret in Erzurum. Built in 1310  by the Mongols who borrowed the Seljuk architecture.

We have taken a day of rest today. We visited the sites of Erzurum, got our hair cut, re-taped Margo’s handlebars, etc. Only real issue left is we have a Turkish cell phone on which we can make but not receive international phone calls. We have enjoyed extensive use of the internet. Wireless is prevalent here, and access not heavily censored as it was in Ardahan, although YouTube is blocked.


3 responses to “A three day ride across NE Anatolia

  1. And getting a restaurant seat at sunset is not easy either. Most of them are fully reserved, every table filled and orders taken 20 min before sunset, and the food all comes out on the dot.

  2. Yes, tonight we got a seat at second sitting. Patrons eat fast and leave as they have to sleep and eat breakfast before sunrise! We however do not get breakfast till 7am at the hotel, so can be more relaxed in eating supper.

  3. We were there last in the winter, where the time pressure is greatl reduced. Ramadan is a much bigger pain when it happens in the summer.

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