Pedaling from the Black Forest to the Yellow Sea
Random header image... Refresh for more!

Day 92 (Turkey): Gümüştepe - Dogubayazit

daily distance: 82km
total distance: 6130km
riding time: 5h

Waking up early can be a real treat. Everything is still quiet and you can enjoy the surroundings. Such was the case. I had a melon that I ate for breakfast with some other goodies and set out to head towards Dogubayazit. It was described to me by one reader as the most dangerous part of the journey through Turkey. I wouldn’t subscribe to that view, but the day was eventful to say the least.


After a brief stop in Caldiran, the climb continued - first almost entirely flat only to become successively steeper towards the end.

This was also serious military land. There were more military vehicles on the road, tons of guard towers on my right (the border with Iran is only a few km away) and a checkpoint. Once I got past the guy that only wanted to chat me up out of boredom (they were building a guard house and had nothing to do with the actual check point) and because he could speak English (where are you going, why are you going, you are not going to Azerbaijan) and me trying to be polite but I eventually told him that I’d be happy to answer any question at the actual checkpoint 50m up. Once I got there I was barraged with questions in Turkish - I handed over my passport (apparently not fast enough as I got yelled at) and tried to answer as many as I could. After a bit more yelling (Markus, remain stoic) I was let go and moved further up the pass. The higher I got the more desolate the villages became.

This is the top of the pass … (I know this is nothing compared to Central Asia in terms of hight) after eating a bit something and enjoying the view I headed down again. This is where things went sour for me. Just after taking this picture I happened upon a goat herd with five or six herders. I was stopped because the animals were crossing the road. No problem. Then the second guy asks me for a cigarette (the oldest person, about 50-60 year old), I say I don’t have one. Then a kid basically yells in my face and I roll past him figuring that things are alright. I hear something behind me, turn around and see a herder’s stick flying towards me - the kid having thrown it. I bring the bike to a halt (don’t want the stick to fly in the spokes) and pick it up. I was ready to break it - I should say I was a bit fuming at this point, maybe understandably - when I see three young guys moving towards me. I just throw the stick away and roll down. I was disappointed and angry and didn’t understand what the !@#$ had happened.

Still fuming somewhat I cruised down the mountain when the headphones played a cover version of Bob Marley’s “One love”: let’s get together and feel alright. That helped somewhat as did the panorama when Mt. Ararat appeared right in front me (you can sort of make it out on the picture, the blob in the center). It was impressive …

Just as I snapped this one I got badgered by two more young guys throwing stones at me after I didn’t give them any cigarettes (they were like 8 years old). An elderly woman just looked on and when I told her that this is !@#$ she was rather non-plussed. Can’t get my head around this stuff. Are they getting off on this kind of stuff?

Sure enough, a few km down the hill - after many more smiling and waving kids - a girl waves at me only to have her younger brother spit at me. That was about all I needed. Of course you can’t figure out why they would do this. I am simply biking along and the owner of the hostel was just as much out of his depth. He said that they were - for some reason - extremely aggressive in these villages. But so many kids weren’t so openly hostile. It was just strange. More One Love goodness made things better again after more wind struggles I finally got to Dogubayazit.

The castle above the town is magnificent and having Mt. Ararat on the other side is a great feature. I hitched a ride to the castle filled with banter about the upcoming Turkey - Germany football game. There are lots more pictures on the flickr site.

Strange thing - though not unexpected: as I am heading to a different country again, I am warned that people are strange and can not be trusted. I heard that so many times before. I am not inclined to believe it this time either and must say that I am intensely curious about what lies ahead.

Ended the day over dinner with a Canadian traveler. Maybe I should try some of this stuff to give me more strength. It looks yummy …



1 comment

1 Jess { 06.26.08 at 3:43 pm }

Glad to see some photos of you…not impressed by people throwing sticks and stones at you! What’s up with that? Strange. BE CAREFUL and I’m praying for you as always.
mach’s am besten
Love you.

Leave a Comment

* Your email address will not be made public.
* Die Email-Adresse wird nicht veröffentlicht.