Travelling by Pedalling


Almost 2,5 months in Turkey! 

After saying goodbye to our cycling friends and beautiful Cappadocia, we leave to take a night bus from Aksaray to Erzurum, to pick up our visa. But guess what! After a holiday week in Turkey last week, this Monday turns out to be a national holiday in Iran and they are still closed. We had not taken that into account, so we have a mandatory rest day.

In the end we spend a day finding a way to send the drone home, without spending to much money. There should be no batteries in the package, so we would have to carry a box full of weight that we wouldn’t do anything with. The remote control and three batteries. In the end we came up with a good solution. We send the whole box to Istanbul where a friend of ours happens to go. We send the box to Ersin (a friend we made in Istanbul) who takes it back to my friend. How great that they want to help us! And it also saves tons of money.

The next day we pick up our visas at the Iranian Consulate. We sat there longer than necessary because we didn’t understand the system. When you are there in the room you just have to give your passport with your E-visa to a man through the small window. We were asked to sit and wait our turn, but we could have given it a long time ago. After that we have to go to the bank to pay and return with the proof of payment and of course we sit there quietly waiting for our turn! But this time we don’t see anyone behind the window. We eventually make contact with someone and hand over our documents. After which we are outside again within a minute with our visas!

Now we can finally leave! On to the border!!

We made a leap by bus in Turkey and it shows. We see more poverty, more villages full of ruins and decay, beggars in the cities and people who immediately ask for money when they see us. The closer to the border, the more visible the poverty becomes.

We mainly cycle on major roads and if we don’t cycle on major roads then they are gravel paths. We drink chai in small villages with the men in tea houses and get food. We enjoy the environment, the rock walls that surround us, the flowing rivers along the road, the expansive views and then we see mount Ararat for the first time! Which means we’re really close to the border now.

We have reserved a hotel for our first night in Iran because that is expected of you for your visa. Even though I have to say no one checked it. We take the road to the border and take a rest day in the city as we still have to wait one day before we can cross the border. At the end of the day we cycle up a steep road to Ishak Pasha Palace where we sleep next to a campsite which is not much more than a grass field. But we have very nice neighbors! A Dutch couple traveling around in an old converted fire truck. We have dinner together for two evenings, receive a PowerPoint presentation from New Zealanders who are here trying to find Noa’s Ark and they think they have found it. We get a lift, with their beautiful house on wheels and go to the place where the New Zealanders want to excavate Noa’s Ark. After returning to the campsite we talk about travel experiences with a nice glass of wine, what an experience Marijke and Joost have!! Wow!

Tomorrow is the day.. we leave Turkey after 2,5 months and are going to Iran!