|Turkey Sugar Party, military and film crew|
Written by: Marlous
Sugar Party, military and film crewIt feels great to leave Malatya on our bicycles with the sun shining on our backs. Malatya is famous for its apricots, which we notice as soon as we leave the town. Everywhere besides the road there are gardens with apricots and a lot of stands selling the fruit as well. During a break a jeep passes us by very slowly. After about 100 meters the car turns around and moves into our direction….military. Two high ranked men step out of the car and two others are following them holding big guns. “Where are you from?” “What’s your name?” They think everything is great about us and they walk back to their cars totally satisfied. Turkey is finished with the Ramadan at the 3rd of November and it is ready for the Sugar Party. In every shop there are a lot of candies and the Turkish people do a lot of shopping these days. Everybody wears nice clothes and families are visiting each other. Children receive a lot of candies and they don’t skip us. People come running to us to give us some sweeties. Delicious!
From Bingol our plan was to go to Mus. After 60 km of cycling we came near a village where we saw a board next to the road with a sign for a hotel. We looked each other in the eyes and went looking for this hotel. Mus would have to wait for us, our legs were tired. There was no one in the hotel, but the neighbor took care of that. The owner was on his way while we drank a cup of tea with the kids of the village. They practiced the words of English they learned in school and the next morning they were all there waving us goodbye.
A great day of cycling brought us to Tatvan. From here we wanted to take the boat to Van. This ferry normally brings the train to the other side of the lake, but for two crazy cyclists there was space as well. Together with about 10 other people we stepped on board. When we were half way somebody brought us to the captain of the ship. We were invited to have dinner with the crew. It was very dark when we arrived somewhere outside of Van. We had to cycle 9 km before we reached the center where we found a nice hotel.
We planned three days of rest in Van. But the manager of the hotel found us very interested and kept us busy. He arranged a cameraman and two journalists who came to film and interview us. It was funny because we had to pose in many different ways. If it’s right we’ve been on television and in the news papers, but we didn’t see it ourselves.
After Van we went through an area with a lot of military and many check points. Cars had to stop here to show their passports and most of the times we could just pass with a smile. It felt fine that those guys were so friendly while we were passing their tanks and view towers.
There was one big challenge waiting for us before entering the last town of Turkey: a pass of 2644 meter. After a long climb we reached the top where we could play in the snow. We started a freezing descend but it was interrupted by a small van: from Belgium! We had a nice chat and cycled further, but not for long because we saw the van again and the Belgiums heated up the BBQ and we had a great lunch together. In the evening we drank a beer with this couple in Dogubayazit.
Dogubayazit is the last Turkish town before the border with Iran. We spend one day here enjoying the Turkish way of live. After two months cycling in Turkey we feel at home in this country. But the next adventure is waiting: Iran here we come!
Malatya-Elazig: 105 km
Elazig- Kovancilar: 69 km
Kovancilar- Bingol: 80 km
Bingol- Solhan: 60 km
Solhan- Mus: 60 km
Mus- Tatvan: 96 km
Tatvan -Van: boot
Van- Caldiran: 117 km
Caldiran- Dogubayazit: 71 km