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
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.
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.
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.