fredag 22 mars 2013

Anatolian mountains

On Tuesday I left Imranli and started climbing to what would be my highest peak so far on the trip. It was a cold morning and the snow was still covering the landscape. But the road was mostly snow free and there were no ice to look out for. But even though it was cold, I had no problem keeping warm when it was uphill for a long time. Eventually I got to the top and the sign reading 2190 meters. I felt like a big accomplishment, but I didn’t stay long to enjoy it because the wind was freezing cold up there. 
And it was impossible staying warm when going down, having the cold wind right at me all the way. But at least it didn’t take as long as going up. And one of the advantages of going downhill is that the mean bike hating dogs can’t keep up. I spent that night in Refahiye and had a good night sleep which was well needed since the next day I had a new mountain to climb. But this day it was only up to 2160 meters. But this pass was a little harder since the road was up in the cold mountain for longer before coming down on the other side. But it was beautiful with snowy mountains all around. So even if it was hard work, I really enjoyed the scenery.
The end of the day the road followed a long valley with a nice downward angle towards the city if Erzincan. I found a nice pension where I was warmly welcomed. The owner, employees and some people staying there was really interested in what I was doing and with the help of Google Translate we managed to have a conversation. The owner even bought me a very tasty dinner at a nice restaurant in the evening. In the morning we gathered for breakfast and it really felt staying at someone’s home and I felt more like a guest than a customer. After breakfast one of the employees, and his brother who spoke English showed me around town and we had a nice day together.
In the evening I went out for something to eat and when I got back to the pension Haci, the owner insisted that I followed him to a restaurant to try Lahmacun(a this pizza with minced meat). I was full but eventually gave in and went out for the second round. I had a great time there and they even upgraded me to their best room. So for the second night I had a big double bed where I slept great and felt rested for a new day on the bike.
I said goodbye to all the nice people at Ali Eren Pansiyon and headed out of Erzurum. And when I was making my way out of the city I knew this day would be a tough one. The wind was ruthless and right in the face. So for the first 30 km I was doing about 10 km/h on flat ground. Once I made it out of the Erzincan valley and was surrounded by mountains it was a little easier but it was still windy so I had to keep on pedaling if I were to make it the 100 km to Tercan that I had planned since it was between Erzincan and Erzurum where I’m going next. I was told by some people that I met on the road that there where another guy on a bicycle cycling the same way as me but further ahead. I was hoping to catch up with him today but I haven’t seen him, maybe tomorrow. Tomorrow I’m continuing to Erzurum where I have some visa business. I have already gotten the ok for my visa to Iran so hopefully it won’t take too long time until I have it in my passport.

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