Status Update:

Current location: Bochum / Germany

50 countries, 1226 days, trip mileage: 124200 km

28 Jun 2008

Turkey (3)

Roads are getting a little worse for the first time on this trip

Back in Bandirma, we get the bikes back from our friend Bora to set off and cross Turkey within three rather long riding days through Anatolia and a brief sightseeing stop-over in Capadoccia.
Our last day in Turkey begins in Erzincum and takes us to Dogubayazit (or ‘Dog Biscuit’), about 40km from the Iranian border.
Some 100 miles before Dogubayazit, all at once the landscape is opening and getting decidedly more dramatic, with Turkey’s highest mountain Mt Ararat peeking through the clouds every now and then.

Strong side-winds make it difficult to keep the bike in a straight line – and at times, we find ourselves riding at quite an angle, pressing the bikes against the wind. There’s hardly any vehicles going our way, and oncoming traffic is dominated by large Iranian and Turkish trucks coming towards us – causing strong air turbulences that make it even more difficult to keep the bike upright and steady.

Dogubayazit has a distinctive frontier-town appearance to it. It’s located in the middle of nowhere, in a valley between two mountain ranges at the end of a long deserted highway. As we enter, a huge sandstorm is making its way across town. In a very strange way, I feel that I’ve just found myself in the middle of the first ‘Star Wars’ movie, and Dogubayazit is in fact Mos Iceley – a remote desert town where adventures start. I wouldn’t be surprised if, anytime soon, I bumped into Han Solo & Greedo having a game of poker at the bar.

As soon as we stop the motorbikes, people gather around us and look at us as if we were aliens, with either a funny nose & ears, or growing two heads. Within seconds we’re surrounded by children practicing the two words of English they know: “Hello” and “Money”, over and over again. We soon find a suitable hotel where the motorcycles sleep in the hotel lobby – and even better: a restaurant with decent food on the other side of the street. Some tasty kebabs, salads and a few beers in front of us, we can finally relax and look forward to tomorrows first ‘serious’ border crossing into Iran (which I heard can take anything between 2 and 5 hours).