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September 18th 2016
Published: September 18th 2016
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DOGUBAZIT to KARS. 17 September, 2016
The time difference on crossing the Iran-Turkey border is 90 minutes backwards. Unfortunately it takes a few days to adjust. We were to meet at 7am for breakfast, however most participants were up and wandering around at 5.30 am ready to leave. Our usual departure time on the bike is between 6-7 am!
We departed at 9 am, when the bus to transport us the 180 kms to Kars arrived. It was a good morning weather wise, coolish, but relatively clear sky. About 2 km from the hotel was our first army roadblock, concrete barriers, tank and personnel carrier and machine-gun toting soldiers. After a brief look in the bus we were on our way. No other holdups on route. We traveled along the Turkish- Armenian border for about 30 kms, closest I will get to Armenia. Watch towers on the Armenian high plateau facing Turkey. These countries have disputes lasting over a century. Armenia maintains Turkey committed acts of genocide against its' people which Turkey denies. Also the Kurdish people in this region want to establish their own country taking land from Turkey, Armenia, Iran and Iraq. I wonder what the dispute was in Noah's time! We stopped briefly where we were to camp, if cycling, were we ate FRESH bread, cheese and olives. A glass of wine would have been great!! The scenery changed from here to Kars, more plateau with green farm land, grazing cattle and horses, not sheep. Kars is the major town in this region and is much like any country town supporting an agricultural region. The main street was bustling. Bought first beers at the Swiss owned supermarket. Unfortunately the service was not swiss efficient! We were all disappointed not to ride as the road was good, little traffic and great descents. We are now in Kars an extra day which will be challenging. 2 riders depart here, leaving the final 11 into Istanbul in 14 riding days. The weather has turned much cooler, dropping at least 10c in daytime, and cold in the evening. It may be cold from here! Have now replaced my gloves with long fingers and pulled out warmer jackets!

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