I am currently in Dogubeyazit, a frontier town in far eastern Turkey. I visited here once previously in December 2002. Needless to say, the temperature is far hotter now than then. Dogubeyazit is the setting for two of my highlights of Turkey: Mount Ararat and Ishakpasa Palace. However, this time I’m here to visit Iran. I am now waiting for Karin’s bus from Istanbul to arrive so we can take a Dolmus (minibus) to the Iranian border before crossing by foot.
Yesterday morning I defrosted the fridge-freezer, finalised my packing, turned the eletricity off, went to the office to say goodbye and complete one or two tasks before Ahmet dropped me off at the bus station. There I caught the 12:00 pm Agri Ararat (translated: Ararat Ararat 😉 bus to Dogubeyazit. On the way we seemed to stop everywhere. If not the main towns (Adana, Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Diyabakir, Agri, etcetera), then in between for meal and tea breaks. We were at Gaziantep bus station for one hour!
Some of the highlights of the 20+1/2 hour journey:
-Gaziantep bus station: several young men were leaving for their military service. As is custom in Turkey, the men were dancing with their family and friends to the accompanying drum and pipe music. I heard up to 3 separate celebrations at the same time. It was a riot of music, people and colour.
-The bus stopped for a meal break the other side of the Euphrates River next to the town of Birecik. The Euphrates (one of the rivers of Babylon) was flowing well and created an okay reflection of the Birecik Fort in the water.
-I saw Lake Van, the largest lake in Turkey for the first time. Unfortunately I only witnessed it in the middle of the night when it was barely visible.
-In the east the local farmers were harvesting hay and seasoning pads of animal manure to provide fuel in the harsh winter. The sun light began showing at 5am and some farmers were already out and about.
My next post should be from Tabriz, Iran!