Thursday, July 7, 2011

3rd 4th 5th 6th July, Malatya, Mus and Dogubayazit

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Farewell Goreme

Farewell Jane and John

Off to Malatya in morning. A full days driving and all up high in the Anatolyan mountains and hills, all above 1000 m and up to 1900m. Stunning roads and all dual carriage ways with hardly a car on them. One comes across a lot of road works but that has been the case on every road I have been on here. The investment is staggering, then I heard that the Turkish last quarter economic growth rate was 11%, making it the fastest growing economy in the world. I am going to have a chat with Miranda, who looks after my stocks and shares and see if there are some funds worth looking at. With the proposed entry into the euro and uniquely positioned between East and West, a stable  democratic government (albeit polarizing and slightly non secular), property values set to double over the next 3 years, it would not be a stupid punt.

I have been on the look out for a sheepskin to put on the seat. Apparently it will do wonders for posterior comfort. Not that I suffer much, but any additional luxury has to be good. Anyway the point is that in Malatya, where I stayed, there is a market by the hotel with lots of stalls selling wool, but non appeared to be attached to the fleece (that was quite a feat of sign language) I was offered one, but the shop keeper had been sitting on it for the last 20 years by the look of it and it would have been wrong to have torn them apart, yuck. The qwest goes on.
During this market meanderings, a chap came up and said hello. He was in his 30s I guess and said he had lived in the UK for a few years, in Bristol and Reading, but was sent home when his visa ran out. I asked what he missed most. The women he said, they are the most beautiful in the world. I tried to compliment him on the many Turkish beauties I had seen, but he would not even hear a comparison. That is something I miss too, and only gone a month....

Bit by bit, the further east I've gone it has started to get dryer and dryer, and green a more precious colour on the landscape. The people outside the towns are very rustic, with a great many cattle and donkeys wondering along and across the road.  The trucks are slower, and Batty's overtaking skills are getting practiced on an hourly basis now. There have been no Ferraris in Turkey, and only one in Greece.

Stayed in a very suspect Otel in Mus, the loo stank, which is not a nice thing to clean ones' teeth next to. It is the worst so far, but they have been kind and allowed Batty to stay in the office over night.

Headed for the frontier town of Dogubayazit (seems to be known as Dogbuscuit by some).

Lovely drive and a lot reminiscent of the Highlands (Scotland), but bigger temperature swings.
 A local herdsman and his boys
 A long shot of his tented village...he offered me a bed for the I understood it, but alas it was mid morning and I wanted to push on.
Another local, no regard whatsoever for other road users......

Parked up for a break and photo shoot, when a military patrol stopped and asked me what I was doing. No great issue and a few handshakes and pointing at the map, had them smiling and leaving.
 Just before the law arrived and stopped the next shot...which would have shown a larger brow.
 Nice spot though, worth defending

Most delicious trout for lunch, and prepared at a road side garage restaurant, funny how that can be.

As I head nearer Dogubayazit (MAP) I saw the first sign post for Iran. Although I will not be going there till next week, it is exciting to be this near.

I met Huw in a cafe, where he was supping and advised me the establishment's offerings were good. We got chatting and heard about his 18 month journey around North Africa and around on to Turkey in his Landrover Forward Control 101.

We teamed up in the morning to go and see the Palace of Ishak Pasha near Dogubayazit  that is 4 miles up the hill. Amazing place, with brilliant views, alas hit by Russians and earthquakes I believe and now needs imagination to see it's full glory of yesteryear.

This town is in the shadow of Mount Ararat, Turkey's highest at 5000+ m.
 Noah landed on top of it as well, you may remember.


  1. Ref: Jane-John Comb.
    Wish you all the best personally and on behalf of İstanbul Cycling-Biking Club Ass.
    No facebook available in İran but dont hesitate to send SMS or Email when you need support in Turkey İran and Pakistan.
    In Iran at the bordergate, dont give your passport to unauthorised scam guys who tries to sell road insurance for 100 euros..30 meters further in the red building there is an office and real price is 30 us.dollars.
    In İran always ask the police when you have something to ask.Never let the people group around you and touch your bike..Something may be stolen..(Already happened several times)
    If possible avoid tehran city.crazy and dangerous traffic..
    In Pakistan side certainly follow and obey the escorts even they go so slow.3 days ago 2 swiss travellers has got lost in the desert who havent waited for the escorts.In Quetta you can get the train to Karachi or north pakistan to be free.Its safe and cheap.
    Lets keep in touch and please send me the link to track your bike so that ı can tell friends to come and meet you when you are in need of help..
    Hope you never need help and everything goes in order.
    Also a club friend Mr.Cahit Sesver will enter İran 6 hours later by BMW.plate number 35.TR..He is on the way to nepal..Probably you will meet eachother and many other bikers on the road somewhere.Being a group for desert passes and escort followings is the best solution..
    Escort people in both sides are very friendly and trustful..
    All the best
    zeki avar

  2. Harry,
    Love the blog, really well timed today making a welcome break from stressful renegotiation on failing septic tank and dodgy private water supply in South Devon - perhaps they should hear of your hotel!
    Well done the both of you for 709 miles in 3 days - sheep shagpile sounds good idea.
    Family send thier love. Georgie's driving test in 2wks!
    All best
    PS. Approve of the spelling of Quest re. the saddle cover. Alex Ash take note!

  3. Gave your web to a biker in the post office at the HofC and her husband. They were well impressed. Really enjoying the blog. Bit of bad news from home your regular Sunday paper has just been scrapped! Love-n-hugs. Jan x

  4. We tried to tell you about the wonders of sheepskin seat and you were having none of it! Al here for supper - She's delighted to hear that you have started your "holiday shopping". Promised to show her how to respond to your blogs - do you want this?

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