thıs stuff wont be wıth me the next tıme :)
At Friday, 26.8., I started from the airport of Antalya. Rebeccas flight was already at 6 am so that I started riding already at 5.30. I had 5kg less of package because R ebecca took much of my stuff with her. To get my pepper spray back was no problem.
I enjoyed the riding towards the rising sun, it was amazing! I followed the road next to the south coast. The first day I planned to come to Manavgat where a family I met near Antalya lives and invited me for having a break there. At 11am I was already there, I had already done 97km at this time. It was a pity that the family wasnt there at the moment, but a colleague of the husband offered me some food. After that nice lunchbreak it was clear that I make more than 200km this day, the road was flat, no wind and still quite early in the day. This record will be hard to be beaten! At the evening I found the nicest place for the night so far during my trip, I think. It was directly at a bay of the Mediterranean Sea. I could sleep in an old
ruin. I had a nice bath in the evening and in the morning. It was just a shame that I havent bought a mask and snorkel.
So the first thing I did in the next town was buying a mask and a snorkel and I had some opportunities to snorkel the next days. That was nice! I could manage to sleep every night at the beach, great! One morning I also had some exhaustive swim experience. At the beach there were just sand and no rocks so it was quite boring to snorkel there. I saw a rock island near the coast, I estimated about 200m. So I decided to swim there. However, as after half an hour the rocks still were 200m away, I decided to turn back. It was a nice abwechslung to the cycling every day
After one swimming pause at midday I met a guy who opened a beer, took two slicks and gave the rest to me. While I was drinking his beer, he smoked a joint and said this is his favourite drink. He explained me that tomorrow is bayram where the end of ramadan is celebrated. I think he is a guy who
doesnt take the Ramadan very serious but is making the more party at bayram
The way along the coast was very beautiful but also very hilly. You think directly at the coast it cant be so hilly but... After Mersin I was leaving the coast and went to Erzurum. The country became quite different. There the region of the Kurds started. The people also often dont consider themselves as Turks but as Kurds. When I was asked how I like the country they often didnt want to know how I like Turkey but Kurdistan. I often was warned that the region is dangerous and that I have to be careful because of terroristical groups. There were much military there as well. However, I hadnt any problems. I followed the recommondation of one guy to ask to sleep at petrol stations. That was quite nice. You have fresh water in the morning for washing. You often get offered a tea in the morning. One night I also had a full dinner and breakfast offered by a local living next to the gas station. One morning after a night in the wild I got visit from military and asked if everything
is OK and thats not good to sleep there. They also wanted to see my passport. The people are even more excited to see me at the bike passing there villages or towns. The children are running after me and often shout “Turist!Money, money!” At the south coast the people often could speak English or German because its very touristical. But now it was getting more difficult to find people who can speak proper English. In one town I asked two guys:”Suepermarket?” They said “No English!” I thought it was Turkish because Suepermarket is written at every supermarket. Until here I mostly rode without any shirt. But here in East Turkey I often was told to put my T-Shirt on so I did.
The people are showing even more hospitality. I was offered so much that I can decide what to get. Water? Hm, no I still have enough. 50m further: Tea? Hmm, better. Another 50m: Melon? OK, thats sounds nice, I take a melon! Often I was offered a full meal. One night a family invited me to sleep at there house. It was really funny. We were at least 10 persons in the little living room. Who actually
was living ion the house I didnt really know. We tried to make conversations with theit few English and my few Turkish words and my Turkish-English dictionary. The father even couldnt handlke the dictionary very well. He always tried to get the words from the irregular verbs tabular. However, as usual, you dont see anything of the women. The wife of the father I heard often but didnt see once for the whole night.
The Internet cafes are getting more and more. They are crowded with kids that are playing all the time fighting games. There is a huge noise all the time because they shout through the whole room their results and so on. But I am much more interesting, there are always 10 kids round me and staring at my monitor what I am doing. Or they want to make pictures of me or want that I make pictures of them.
I lost my camera. There are two possible situations were I have lost it. As usual, due to the hot sun, I was having a break in the shadow in the midday. Three young guys joined me and smoked big joints. They offered me also to smoke
beautıful spot to camp!
with them so I did. We were walking a bit together and they rode a few metres with my bike. I think the joints made me a bit too relaxed, normally I wouldnt allow them to ride my bike. They had opportunity to take my camera out of my front bag. I dont know if that is likely because the camera was in my sock, so probably not obviously a camera. And it is remarkable that the other stuff from my front bag is still there, as my wallet for example.
The second possibility is more likely I think. It was a few minutes after the joints. There were severe hills and two guys with a transporter offered to take me and my bike a few kilometres with them. They said the next 30 km it is going steep uphill and the street is very bad. Of course I agreed to their offer. And they were right. It was really going seep uphill and the street was really bad. The driver additionally drove quite crazy. After one hour they let me out again and I realised that I havent closed my frontbag properly and my camera was gone. So I
miss pictures of one week. Its really a shame. I think I had so much experienced in that week and made so much great pictures!
It was going really high. Up to 2315m. And it was getting very cold in the nights. But the landscape was amazing! These mountains! Very little people living there. Sometimes very poor and simple villages. It was very dry, so no vegetable and fruit farms. You can see lots of cow or sheep or goat herds. The people are riding on horses or donkeys.
Often the people say that they want to come with me to Germany. Most of them in a bit joking sense. But one guy seriously wants that i help him to get a wife in Germany that he can go back to Germany(he already has worked there for a few years).
At Thursday, 8.9., I arrived at Erzurum, where I wanted to take my Visa for Iran. After I had so much difficulties with an American agency that arranges Visas to get the Visa in Istanbul I let it send to Erzurum. The consulate was supposed to open at 2.30 pm. I waited from then to 5pm (it is supposed to
close at 4pm) without any reactions to my and other waiting people’s belling. Then 2 other cyclists, Chris and Meint, from England and Netherlands, and Tom, a backpacker from England, arrived and I waited with them longer.They had already fulfilled every formalities and just picked up their Visas. I at least was able to speak to a consul and could give him my registration number which I got from the agency. I was told to come tomorrow morning again. Tom told me his hotel he was staying at, only 8€ a night and I went there too. With him Chris and Meint we drank a beer to celebrate their Visas for Iran. The next day I bought a new camera, the cheapest one I’ve found. I made the Visa formalities. I was asked if its a problem for me to get the Visa at Monday. I said that I would like to leave tomorrow morning because the other cyclists wanted to leave at Saturday and we could cycle together. I was told that I can fetch the Visa at Saturday morning. Wow! On weekend. That was a surprise. Another guy from France I met there in the consulate had not
so much luck. He is already waiting in Erzurum for one week and he was told to fetch his Visa at Monday although he also said he would like to have the Visa as soon as possible. In Erzurum I also tried to exchange some traveller checques. In Iran the credit cards dont work because of the sanctions on Iran. So you have to take a lot of cash with you. One bank said they dont take travellercheques, they told me to go to another bank. There they said I should go to an exchange office. There they said I have to go to the bank, for example the bank I was at the second. Arrgggh!
After waiting one hour on Saturday morning I got the Iranian visa. Yeah! So I could join Chris and Meint. Chris wants to do a world trip for 2 years. Meint is going to Nepal. Both want to do the hard variant going North through Turkmenistan, Usbekistan and Kirgistan.
My puncture series was holding on. It was very annoying. We didnt really understand why I had so much punctures. My tyres are very new, Rebecca brought me new Schwalbe Marathon tyres. The only thing
we could imagine was that just the inner tubes have to be renewed. The problem was that in every bikeshop we found they hadnt 28'' bikes just 26''. So our hope lay in Tabriz, the next big town we will reach.
In the very East of Turkey we started to be really annoyed by the kids. "Turist!Turist!Money,money!" They were running after us while shouting this. Some of them tried to stop us and grapped on our bags and bikes. There were also one or two who throw a rock to Chris and hit him with a shoe.
The last night before Iran we spent at a camping place in Dogubayazit next to the Mount Ararat, the highest Mountain of Turey with more than 5000m. There the Ark of Noah was landed after the bible. We also met there two french guys who are hobby researcher and try to find the ark by digging there.
When we started the next morning we were quite excited. We are going to Iran today!
In front of the Iranian border there was a long queue of about 5km of trucks. For us it didnt take very long time to cross the border, maybe one
hour. Chris from England needed an extra treatment, he had to give all fingerprints. His Visa was much more expensive than Meints and mine. He had to pay 210€ while we "only" had to pay 75€.
From Iran we were quite surprised. The people are more liberal than we have imagined. The women are forced to wear scarfs but they wear them often so loosen that you can see nearly all of the hair. They often have coloured hair and they are rouged very much. In Turkey you ouldnt see this so much. Here it is also possible to speak to women. They are even talking to you from thereselves. In 2 months in Turkey I think I have talked to
not more than 5 women (except the women working in shops and maybe for explaining the way). No one likes Ahmadinejad and the government. They know, of course that they bring them to isolation. It seems often that they are not very proud of their country. They ask us often why the hell we are going to Iran. But they are very happy to see us and always say "Welcome to our country!" They are amazingly hospitable. And they
the rock Island ıs 200m away ;)
are glad when we say that we like Iran very much and the people are so friendly. They even welcomeChris although they are not so excited to hear England than Germany or Holland.
Nearly everybody wants to leave the country and go to Europe if they could get the chance. They are also glad to have the chance to practise their English.
One day we met an Iranian cyclists who is traveling on his bike since about 30 years. On his current trip he is cycling round the world and is on his last kilometres to his home town Tehran.
Riding in Tabriz was a little level more than Istanbul. Additional to the traffic chaos the under traffic participants are chatting with us. No matter of pedestrian, cyclists, motorcyclist, car or busdriver. Everybody wanted to know where wde are from, what are our names and how we like Iran. When we were standing in the middle of a big street having a chat the other participants werent upset and just drove round us. Great!
In a hotel we asked for room prices. It was too expensive for me. We met a guy in the hotel who said that he is
building a house and that we can sleep on the construction site. Great! In the center of Tabriz we could camp for free!
The next day we had a bike shop session. I got finally new inner tubes. We were at a bike shop that have free service for all travellers; Chris heard of this shop. Great! I felt a bit uncomfortable as they took apart my front wheel. They had immediately seen that my front wheel is unround. They even could fix it. But they had real difficulties to put the wheel together again, because of the electric in the wheel. They asked me where some screws and bolts have to be put. Of course, I dont have any clue. But they could handle it. They also could adjust my levelshifter. The last few weeks I was riding just with 12 instead of 14 gears. Saeed, the runner of the bike shop has a big guest book where all travellers write in. It was very interesting. There you can see how many crazy people like us are cycling similar routes.
We brought our laundry to a laundrette. In the morning we understood 20.000 IRR, a little more than an
Euro. We were happy to have such cheap laundry. But in the evening when we wannted to take our launbdry back it was suddenly 200.000 IRR. With the currency it is quite difficult. The official currency is the Iranian Rial. But most people are calculating in Toman= 10 Rial. When you want to know how much something is they often only show 5 fingers for example. So what does it mean?
500 Rial, 500 Toman, 5000 Rial, Toman or ...? Often there English is so bad, that they also mix hundred and thousand and say 500 although they mean 5000 and so on. After a while you get used to it because you roughly know in which magnitude the price should be. But often we just show our bills and they take the ones they want to have:)
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