From Lake Van to Mount Ararat

Kars (Turkey), 03.05.2013

Today was our last full day in Turkey, and what a beautiful countryside we found in this remote eastern part of the country. We left Bitlis at 10:30 and shortly after reached Lake Van. Deep blue to turquoise in color, huge in size, and with a spectacular snowcapped mountain range on the southern shore, we admired the lake for over an hour while we drove along the northern shore (video here and here). Stopping for a coffee break (the Nescafe in the hotel was not drinkable) a guy from a nearby building came to talk to us. We didn’t speak each other’s languages, but he seemed to invite us to eat with him. We had to decline three times, since many km waited for us. Too bad.

DSC_0063 DSC_0065DSC_0049Then we left the lake to venture into the mountains. The landscape became more and more arid the higher we got. And at some point, Mount Ararat appeared (video here), with its two summits, covered in snow, and a vast plain all around so that you can admire him for hours. We had the chance to do so for a longer stop, since the rooftop rack had to be unpacked as it started to make strange noises.

DSC_0069Close to Dogubayazit we went to see the Ishak Pasha Saray, a palace from 1001 nights. It is very well preserved and maintained, and beautifully decorated. The views from the many windows and terraces are breathtaking.

DSC_0118 DSC_0107 DSC_0100 DSC_0098 DSC_0095 DSC_0089 DSC_0084 DSC_0081It was late for the last place we wanted to see today, so we decided to try to reach Kars before dawn. The last 90 km of roads were very bad and narrow, and since we can’t keep pace in cleaning the front window with all the little flies that want to crash against it, the view of the road became tough. Additionally, the rooftop rack started to make more and louder noise. We’ll need to offload partially to make it lighter, but that will be for tomorrow. Then Kars appeared, and fortunately the city is lovelier then many others we’ve seen in Anatolia. We found a decent hotel, went for some lecker Köfte, and then saw the Benfica-Fenerbahce game.

DSC_0145Tomorrow we’ll leave Turkey to get into Georgia. No more roaming on phones and iPads. No car insurance any more (we’ll have to get one at the border). But before that, we have one more place to see in Turkey. Stay tuned.

Trip data (Day/Total)

– Km driven: 508/7.666

– Hrs driving: 9,5/-

– Diesel l/100km: 8,4/10,0 (TL 3,79 / €1,62)

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