From Cappadocia ot the North-East of Turkey: Anatolia in diagonal
We will enjoy the company of the Anatolian plateau until the end of Turkey, what a beauty with its colours and its hills ! We spent days pedalling through the wheat reserve of Turkey, then other days viewing wonderful valleys. SCAM alert : following a river does NOT mean the terrain is flat !
We will remember some of the uphill, though it was in the end very doable. The decision to go faster in order to optimize our chances to cross the Pamir before winter induces a change in rythm that takes some getting used to though.
We enjoy fully rural Turkey, where the shop keepers invite us to eat in the said-shop, bringing us tea, olives and cheese to go with the bread we just bought.
We reached a big town. Purchase to be done ASAP: buy a pair of pants. Local fashion does not tolerate shorts anymore, and it is always easier to blend in. Finally I left the town with a brand new pair of pants and… SPD pedals, to try a performance improvement, but above all, to improve the looks…!
The scenery keeps changing, we are not allowed to get bored ! Cycling through gorges can make camping difficult however, because there is only place for the road, and no flat to be spotted. As we were cruising for a bivy spot, we met two 50-y-o men, having a drink out of town, which is usual in Turkey (in town nobody seems to know where you can buy a beer, although the circle outside the town is full of empty bottles of beers…). We had some beers together, then they took us to a better spot for sleeping, where their famiy was having a barbecue. As we arrived, we were offered… Tea ?! It’s quite comical to see that everybody drinks in its hidden corner before joining the family gathering where appearances are everything 😉
“Good news everyone”, the Iran visa applying process came to terms ! We head back to Erzurum, where I get my face photographed with a hijab for the visa official photo. The hijab will then have to wait until Iran to see the lights again, to the great deception of Erzurum old ladies 😉 .
We therefore finished our almost-perfect diagonal of the country, with the feeling that it was indeed a very special and warm country. Cycling through it allowed us to slowly see the differences between the liberal West and the more religious East. We ended up being able to maintain a small conversation, but now we can put it all at rest and open our heart for Gorgia and Armenia !